DeFranzo, Arthur Frederick

Date of birth:
March 20th, 1919 (Saugus/Massachusetts, United States)
Date of death:
June 10th, 1944 (near Vaubadon/Calvados département, Basse-Normandy, France)
Buried on:
American War Grave Riverside Cemetery
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Staff Sergeant
Unit:
Company K, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division "Big Red One", U.S. Army
Awarded on:
January 4th, 1945
Action:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, on 10 June 1944, near Vaubadon, France. As scouts were advancing across an open field, the enemy suddenly opened fire with several machineguns and hit 1 of the men. S/Sgt. DeFranzo courageously moved out in the open to the aid of the wounded scout and was himself wounded but brought the man to safety. Refusing aid, S/Sgt. DeFranzo reentered the open field and led the advance upon the enemy. There were always at least 2 machineguns bringing unrelenting fire upon him, but S/Sgt. DeFranzo kept going forward, firing into the enemy and 1 by 1 the enemy emplacements became silent. While advancing he was again wounded, but continued on until he was within 100 yards of the enemy position and even as he fell, he kept firing his rifle and waving his men forward. When his company came up behind him, S/Sgt. DeFranzo, despite his many severe wounds, suddenly raised himself and once more moved forward in the lead of his men until he was again hit by enemy fire. In a final gesture of indomitable courage, he threw several grenades at the enemy machinegun position and completely destroyed the gun. In this action, S/Sgt. DeFranzo lost his life, but by bearing the brunt of the enemy fire in leading the attack, he prevented a delay in the assault which would have been of considerable benefit to the foe, and he made possible his company's advance with a minimum of casualties. The extraordinary heroism and magnificent devotion to duty displayed by S/Sgt. DeFranzo was a great inspiration to all about him, and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the armed forces."
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Medal of Honor - Army (MoH)

Sources

  • Photo 1: Gary Holcomb, Sr.
  • Jordan, Kenneth N., Yesterday’s Heroes – 433 men of World War II awarded the Medal of Honor 1941-1945, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., USA, 1996
    - Baumer, R.W. & Reardon, M.J., American Iliad – The 18th Infantry Regiment in World War II, The Aberjona Press, Bedford, U.S.A., 2004
    - Whitlock, F., The Fighting First – The Untold Story of the Big Red One on D-Day, Westview Press, Boulder, USA, 2004
    - Knickerbocker, H.R., Danger Forward – The Story of the First Division in World War II, The Battery Press, Nashville, USA, 2002
    - Wikipedia.org

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