Posts made in February, 2017

Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt III

Posted on Feb 15, 2017

Despite a heart condition and arthritis that forced him to use a cane, Brigadier General Roosevelt led the assault on Utah Beach.

Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt III (September 13, 1887 – July 12, 1944), known as Theodore Jr., was an American government, business, and military leader. He was the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt and First Lady Edith Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was instrumental in the forming of the American Legion in 1919 following his valiant service in the United States Army during World War I. He later served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of Puerto Rico (1929–32), Governor-General of the Philippines (1932–33), Chairman of the Board of American Express Company, Vice-President at Doubleday Books. Returning to the Army in 1940, he led the first wave of troops at Utah Beach during the Normandy landings in 1944, earning the Medal of Honor for his command. He died in France 36 days later, holding the rank of Brigadier General.

Award of Medal of Honor

Roosevelt was originally recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross by General Barton. The award was upgraded at higher headquarters to the Medal of Honor, which Roosevelt was posthumously awarded on 28 September 1944.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.’s grave marker at the American World War II cemetery in Normandy. He lies buried next to his brother, Quentin, who was killed during World War I

For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt’s written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.

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Bernard Pious Bell

Posted on Feb 1, 2017

Bernard Pious Bell
Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 142d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division
Place and date: Mittelwihr, France, 18 December 1944
Entered service at: New York, N.Y.
Birth: Grantsville, W. Va. G.O. No.: 73, 30 August 1945
Death: Florida in 1971 at age 59, buried at Arlington National Cemetery

 

 

Citation:

For fighting gallantly at Mittelwihr, France. On the morning of 18 December 1944, he led a squad against a schoolhouse held by enemy troops. While his men covered him, he dashed toward the building, surprised 2 guards at the door and took them prisoner without firing a shot. He found that other Germans were in the cellar. These he threatened with hand grenades, forcing 26 in all to emerge and surrender. His squad then occupied the building and prepared to defend it against powerful enemy action. The next day, the enemy poured artillery and mortar barrages into the position, disrupting communications which T/Sgt. Bell repeatedly repaired under heavy small-arms fire as he crossed dangerous terrain to keep his company commander informed of the squad’s situation. During the day, several prisoners were taken and other Germans killed when hostile forces were attracted to the schoolhouse by the sound of captured German weapons fired by the Americans. At dawn the next day the enemy prepared to assault the building. A German tank fired round after round into the structure, partially demolishing the upper stories. Despite this heavy fire, T/Sgt. Bell climbed to the second floor and directed artillery fire which forced the hostile tank to withdraw. He then adjusted mortar fire on large forces of enemy foot soldiers attempting to reach the American position and, when this force broke and attempted to retire, he directed deadly machinegun and rifle fire into their disorganized ranks. Calling for armored support to blast out the German troops hidden behind a wall, he unhesitatingly exposed himself to heavy small-arms fire to stand beside a friendly tank and tell its occupants where to rip holes in walls protecting approaches to the school building. He then trained machineguns on the gaps and mowed down all hostile troops attempting to cross the openings to get closer to the school building. By his intrepidity and bold, aggressive leadership, T/Sgt. Bell enabled his 8-man squad to drive back approximately 150 of the enemy, killing at least 87 and capturing 42. Personally, he killed more than 20 and captured 33 prisoners.

Biography:

On December 18, 1944, during World War II, Bernard Bell captured more than 30 German prisoners, earning the Medal of Honor.

Bell was born at Grantsville in Calhoun County in 1911, but his family moved to Point Pleasant when he was only one. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and attained the rank of technical sergeant. In early December 1944, his division was working with the French army to liberate the city of Colmar from German forces. On December 18, Bell and his eight-man squad captured an enemy-occupied schoolhouse near Mittelwihr and held it in the face of relentless enemy attacks. During the fight, Bell exposed himself to enemy fire, killed more than 20 German troops, and took 33 captive. President Harry Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor in August 1945.

After the war, Bernard Bell worked for the Veteran’s Administration. He died in Florida in 1971 at age 59 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His siblings donated his military medals to the Mason County Public Library in Point Pleasant. And a bridge in Calhoun County was named in his honor in 2001.

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