Tucker, Reuben Henry, III

Date of birth:
January 29th, 1911 (Ansonia/Connecticut, United States)
Date of death:
January 6th, 1970 (Charleston/South Carolina, United States)
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Colonel
Unit:
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division "All American", U.S. Army
Awarded on:
September 30th, 1943
Awarded for:
Operation Market Garden
On 17 September 1943, about one-half mile northeast of Altavilla, Italy, Colonel Tucker, Commanding Officer of the 504th Parachute Infantry, observed that the enemy was digging in on Hill 424, Army objective of the 1st Battalion of his regiment, the advance of which had been delayed by terrain, organized a small group of twenty-three men, and with utter disregard for his own safety, Colonel Tucker led this small group through heavy enemy artillery fire, attacked and drove the enemy from Hill 424. In this action five of the men became casualties, but Colonel Tucker and the remaining eighteen men held Hill 424 against enemy counterattacks and against enemy forces that were retreating in front of the 1st Battalion, until the 1st Battalion was able to occupy and hold the hill. By his heroic actions, Colonel Tucker enabled the 1st Battalion to attain its important Army objective.
Headquarters, Fifth U.S. Army, General Orders No. 71
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
For extraordinary heroism in action on 20 September 1944 near Nijmegen, Holland. Completely disregarding his own safety, he personally directed the successful operation which anabled the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment to successfully cross the treacherous Waal River, and by his continuous presence with the forward elements, as well as his exemplary judgment and brilliant leadership, inspired his command to the early establishment of the vital Nijmegen bridgehead. Colonel Tucker's contact with the assault units was maintained in the face of intense artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, and he repeatedly exposed himself to this enemy fire in order to confer with the officers leading the attack and to keep them informed to the enemy's situation. After all assigned objectives had been overrun and seized and when certain elements of his battalions were badly split up and intermingled as a result of the bitter and piecemeal fighting, Colonel Tucker calmly and courageously assumed personal command and effected prompt reorganization, thereby insuring an adequate perimeter defense which repelled all subsequent counterattacks. By his interpid direction, heroic leadership, and superior professional ability, Colonel Tucker set an inspiring example for his command, thereby reflecting the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.
Received this second DSC as his first Oak Leaf Cluster to be worn on the ribbon of the first.

Headquarters, XVIII Airborne Corps, General Orders No. 8
"For gallantry in action on 21 December 1944, near ****, Belgium. In the development of the attack of his regiment across the **** River during a critical phase of the Ardennes Campaign, Colonel Tucker, Commanding the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, personally directed the pincer operations designated to capture two strategic towns. While one reinforced battalion was struggling for ****, he advanced with the lead elements of the Third Battalion against **** through densely wooded and mountainous terrain under intense 20-mm. and artillery fire. Colonel Tucker coolly coordinated the attack on the town, exposed to and with calm disregard of enemy action. His encouraging and inspirational presence served to stimulate his troops to greater endeavor. **** was quickly captured. Supporting fire delivered from its heights insured the successful completion of the assault on the other wing. Colonel Tucker's courage and front-line leadership was thus instrumental in the elimination of a most dangerous group of enemy strong points, troops and material. His gallant conduct throughout the action typified the highest traditions of the United States Airborne Forces."
82d Airborne Division, General Orders No. 119
For having distinguished himself by eminent actions of courage, tact and loyalty during the fighting of the 82nd Airborne in the vicinity of the city of Nijmegen, Holland in September and October of 1944, thereby having repeatedly shown an extraordinary sense of duty and great perseverance; in all respects setting a praiseworthy example and an inspiration to all in those illustrious days.
Royal decree no.11, dated Februari 22nd, 1946
Rank:
Colonel
"For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States from 27 July 1953 to 8 April 1954."
Legion of Merit - US Military
Rank:
Major General
Awarded on:
June 27th, 1963
"For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States, during the period May 1957 to August 1963."
Department of the Army, General Orders No. 43
Distinguished Service Medal - Army (DSM)

Sources