1620 – Peregrine White was the first child born to the Pilgrims in the New World. His parents, William and Susanna White, had boarded the Mayflower with their young son Resolved. Susanna gave birth to Peregrine while the Mayflower was anchored in Provincetown Harbor. William White died the first winter, Susanna White married fellow Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow. In 1636, the family, now numbering 6 – Edward and Susanna White Winslow, Resolved and Peregrine White, and the two children born to Edward and Susanna, Josias and Elizabeth Winslow – moved to the new settlement of Marshfield, north of Plymouth. Peregrine had his first military experience at age 16 and continued to serve in the militia, first as a lieutenant and then a captain. Like most of the settlers, Peregrine was a farmer. He also served his community as a representative to the General Court. Peregrine married Sarah Basset about 1648. Sarah’s parents, William and Elizabeth Bassett, had been members of the Leiden Separatist community. They arrived in Plymouth in 1621 in the Fortune. Sarah was born after their arrival in Plymouth, sometime before 1627. The Bassets had considerable land in Marshfield and Peregrine moved onto his in-laws land, buying several adjacent pieces of property as the years progressed. Peregrine and Sarah had 7 children. At age 78, Peregrine officially joined the Marshfield church. He lived until July of 1704, dying at Marshfield.
1776 – British forces land at the Palisades and then attack Fort Lee. The Continental Army starts to retreat across New Jersey.
1780 – Bloody Banastre Tarleton is defeated at the Battle of Blackstock’s in his first defeat at the hands of Americans. The battle followed in the wake of another American victory at Fishdam Ford. British General Charles Cornwallis was frustrated by the outcome at Fishdam Ford. The American victor, Brigadier General Thomas Sumter, was a constant thorn in Cornwallis’s side. He wanted Sumter caught, and he decided to send the much-feared Tarleton to accomplish this task. Fortunately, Sumter received a stroke of good luck: One of the British deserted and told Sumter what he knew about Tarleton’s plans and the size of his force. Sumter and his officers decided not to run. They would make a stand. The decision was not an easy one. Sumter had more men than Tarleton, but the British commander led a force of British regulars with a reputation for cruelty. By contrast, Sumter was leading a motley crew of militia. Nevertheless, Sumter prepared for battle. The spot chosen was a plantation owned by Captain William Blackstock. It was situated on a steep hill, with many sturdy buildings, railed fences, and wooded areas for posting riflemen. The men would be protected by a river at their back, and a ford behind the house was available if the men needed an escape route. Sumter placed his main force on the hill, while riflemen hid in plantation buildings. Militia hid in trees along the road. Tarleton arrived late on November 20. His initial attack went well at first. Americans shot their volleys too soon, and Tarleton’s men pursued the militia with bayonets. But as the Americans retreated, the British made the mistake of following them too far up the hill. They came in sight of the American riflemen, who began shooting at officers. Sumter soon noticed some British dragoons sitting on their horses, watching the fighting. Before they could join the fray, he sent Colonel Edward Lacey through the woods toward them. Lacey and his men were within roughly 50 yards of the dragoons and were able to begin taking shots before they were noticed. In the end, Tarleton was forced into retreat. As the British were leaving, Sumter made a mistake. He and a group of officers came too close and exposed themselves. The British fired, seriously wounding Sumter. Acting unfazed, Sumter rode away, still sitting erect in his saddle. He didn’t want his men to realize that he’d been wounded. He made it back to his command post, despite the fact that he couldn’t move one arm. He was eventually evacuated from the scene, leaving Colonel John Twiggs in charge. Tarleton was determined to return the next day, after his reinforcements arrived. But Twiggs fooled him. Decoy campfires were left behind as the American militia crossed the river and left. Tarleton decided that, since he had the field of battle the next day, he could tell Cornwallis that the British had won. By contrast, Americans knew that they had achieved an important feat: Bloody Tarleton, with his British regulars, had been beaten by a band of American militia.
1789 – New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
1817 – 1st Seminole War began in Florida. After the American Revolution (1776-1783), Spain regained control of Florida from Britain as part of the Treaty of Paris. When the British evacuated Florida, Spanish colonists as well as settlers from the newly formed United States came pouring in. Many of these new residents were lured by favorable Spanish terms for acquiring property, called land grants. Even Seminoles were encouraged to set up farms, because they provided a buffer between Spanish Florida and the United States. Escaped slaves also entered Florida, trying to reach a place where their U.S. masters had no authority over them. Instead of becoming more Spanish, Florida increasingly became more “American.” The British often incited Seminoles against American settlers who were migrating south into Seminole territory. These old conflicts, combined with the safe-haven Seminoles provided black slaves, caused the U.S. army to attack the tribe in the First Seminole War (1817-1818), which took place in Florida and southern Georgia. Forces under Gen. Andrew Jackson quickly defeated the Seminoles.
1864 –Nearly a week into the famous March to the Sea, the army of Union General William T. Sherman moves toward central Georgia, destroying property and routing small militia units it its path. Advanced units of the army skirmished with scattered Rebel forces at Clinton, Walnut Creek, East Macon, and Griswoldville, all in the vicinity of Macon. The march began on November 15 and ended on December 21, 1864. Sherman led 62,000 troops for 285 miles across Georgia and cut a path of destruction more than fifty miles wide. He divided his force into two columns and widened the swath of destruction. The Yankees cut away from their supply lines at Atlanta and generally lived off the land. What they did not consume, they destroyed. More than 13,000 cattle fell into Union hands, as well as 90,000 bales of cotton and numerous sawmills, foundries, cotton gins, and warehouses. Sherman’s superiors, President Lincoln and General in Chief Ulysses S. Grant, endorsed his controversial tactic. Sherman planned, in his words, to “make Georgia howl.” Sherman argued that, although it would be brutal, destroying the resources of the South could bring the war to a speedy end. Though, officially, he did not permit violence against civilians or the wanton destruction of property, there seemed to be little enforcement of that policy. The Union troops moved nearly unopposed across the region until they reached Savannah on December 21. The March to the Sea devastated Southern morale and earned Sherman the lasting hatred of many Southerners.
1856 – CDR Andrew H. Foote lands at Canton, China, with 287 Sailors and Marines to stop attacks by Chinese on U.S. military and civilians. A fort at Canton had fired upon Footes ship during the Sino-British war in 1856. He demanded an apology; the incident may have been because the US ship had been taken for a British one. Receiving none, he attacked the four Chinese forts in the region, storming the largest when its walls had been breached and attacking in the face of gunfire across a rice paddy carrying — according to legend — a parasol over his head for protection from the hot Asian sun.
1861 – A secession ordinance is filed by Kentucky’s Confederate government.
1889 – Edwin Hubble (d.1953), American astronomer, was born. He proved that there are other galaxies far from our own.
1917 – USS Kanawha, Noma and Wakiva sink German sub off France.1933 – Navy crew (LCDR Thomas G. W. Settle, USN, and MAJ Chester I. Fordney, USMC) sets a world altitude record in balloon (62,237 ft.) in flight into stratosphere.
1941 – The Japanese government offer proposals for an interim settlement with the United States. American Secretary Hull rejects the proposals, but prepares a reply which will enable negotiations to continue. This response is not sent after Dutch and British authorities express concerns over the concessions offered to the Japanese in China. The British and Dutch are seen to be acting on concerns expressed by Chiang Kai-shek’s government in China.
1943 – Operation Galvanic, under command of Vice Admiral Raymond Spruance, U.S. Army and Marines attacked Makin and Tarawa in the Central Pacific (part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands). On the Tarawa Atoll, the 2nd Marine Division (General J. C. Smith) lands on Betio Island. Task Force 53 (Admiral Hill) provides naval support with 3 battleships and 4 cruisers and air support from 4 escort carriers. Of the 5000 American troops in the initial landing 1500 become casualties. The Japanese garrison consists of 4800 troops under the command of Admiral Shibasaki, supported by 50 artillery pieces and 7 light tanks. On Makin Atoll, the US 27th Infantry Division (General RC Smith) lands on Butaritari. Task Force 52 (Admiral Turner) provides naval support with 4 battleships and 4 cruisers and air support from 3 escort carriers. Meanwhile, the USS Independence from Task Force 50 is hit by a submarine torpedo. The Coast Guard-manned assault transport USS Leonard Wood, veteran of the landings made in the Mediterranean, participated. She landed 1,788 officers and men of the 165th Combat Team of the U.S. Army’s 27th Division, on Makin Island. Coast Guard-manned LST-20, LST-23, LST-69, LST-169, LST-205, and the USS Arthur Middleton, and the following Navy ships with partial Coast Guard crews: USSs Heywood, Bellatrix, and William P. Biddle, participated in the bloody assault of Tarawa.
1943 – American divisions continue to advance inland along the Numa-Numa trail, parallel to the Piva River.
1944 – The 1st Japanese suicide submarine attack was at Ulithi Atoll, Carolines. A Japanese Kaiten attack sinks the US naval tanker Mississinewa. The kaiten was aptly described by Theodore Cook as “not so much a ship as an insertion of a human being into a very large torpedo.” The guts of the beast was a standard Type-93 24″ torpedo, with the mid-section elongated to create the pilot’s space. He sat in a canvas chair practically on the deck of the kaiten, a crude periscope directly in front of him, and the necessary controls close to hand in the cockpit. Access to the kaiten was through hatches leading up from the sub and into the belly of the weapon. The nose assembly was packed with 3000+ pounds of high explosive; the tail section contained the propulsion unit.
1944 – To the east of Aachen, German forces resist US 19th Corps attacks near Julich. Elements of US 3rd Army continue the siege of Metz as other elements capture Dieuze to the east.
1945 – 24 Nazi leaders went on trial before an international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. The International Military Tribunal begins trying German war criminals at Nuremberg. Following Germany’s defeat in World War II, Winston Churchill planned to shoot top German and Nazi military leaders without a trial, but Henry Stimson, the U.S. Secretary of War, pushed President Roosevelt to consider holding an international court trial. Since the trial did not begin until after the death of President Roosevelt, President Harry S. Truman appointed Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson to head the prosecution team. The four countries pressing charges were Great Britain, the United States, Russia, and France. In his thoughtful opening remarks, Robert Jackson eloquently summarized the significance of the trial. “That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of law,” said Jackson, “is one of the significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason.” The trial, which lasted 78 days, attempted to hold Nazi and German military officials accountable for atrocities including the massacre of 30,000 Russians during the German invasion and the massacre of at least 50,000 people in the Warsaw Ghetto. Twenty-four defendants were tried, including Hermann Goering, the designated successor to Hitler, and Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s personal secretary. All defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. When one of the defendants demanded that an anti-Semitic lawyer represent him, an ex-Nazi was assigned to his defense. Because of the mountains of evidence and the many languages spoken by the defendants and prosecutors, the trial was beset with logistical problems. During the proceedings, Rudolf Hess feigned amnesia to escape responsibility. Though many expected the most excitement to arise from the cross-examination of Hermann Goering, his testimony was a letdown: he was even attacked by his fellow defendants for refusing to take responsibility for anything. Twenty-one defendants were convicted: 12 were sentenced to hang, and the rest were sent to prison. One man escaped the hanging by remaining at large while Goering escaped by committing suicide first. On October 16, 1946, 10 Nazi officials were hanged.
1948 – In what begins as a fairly minor incident, the American consul and his staff in Mukden, China, are made virtual hostages by communist forces in China. The crisis did not end until a year later, by which time U.S. relations with the new communist government in China had been seriously damaged. Mukden was one of the first major trade centers in China to be occupied by Mao’s communist forces in October 1948 during the revolution against the Nationalist Chinese government. In November, American Consul Angus Ward refused to surrender the consulate’s radio transmitter to the communists. In response, armed troops surrounded the consulate, trapping Ward and 21 staff members. The Chinese cut off all communication, as well as water and electricity. For months, almost nothing was heard from Ward and the other Americans.The U.S. response to the situation was to first order the consulate closed and call for the withdrawal of Ward and his staff. However, Ward was prevented from doing so after the Chinese communists, in June 1949, charged the consulate with being a headquarters for spies. With the situation worsening, the United States tried to exert diplomatic pressure by calling upon its allies to withhold recognition of the new communist Chinese government. Chinese forces thereupon arrested Ward, charging him and some of his staff with inciting a riot outside the consulate in October 1949. President Harry Truman was incensed at this action and met with his military advisors to discuss the feasibility of military action. Secretary of State Dean Acheson bluntly and angrily informed the new People’s Republic of China that no U.S. recognition would ever be forthcoming until the Americans at Mukden were released. On November 24, 1949, Ward and his staff were allowed to leave the consulate. Ward and four other Americans had actually been found guilty of the inciting-to-riot charge and were ordered deported. Together with the other Americans, they left China in December. The Chinese actions, which are still difficult to explain or understand, no doubt damaged any possibilities that might have existed for U.S. recognition of the People’s Republic of China. Truman, already under heavy attacks at home for not “saving” the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, could ill-afford to show weakness in dealing with the Chinese communists, particularly after the arrest of Ward and the other Americans so angered the American public.
1950 – U.S. troops pushed to Yalu River within five miles of Manchuria.
1954 – Premier of France Mendes-France visits Washington. On his return to Paris he discloses the results of the Franco-American meetings: the end of French control of the economy, commerce, and finances of Vietnam; transfer of command of the national Army to the Vietnamese government; transfer of responsibility for training the Vietnamese Army to the United States; US aid to go directly to Saigon; and withdrawal of the French Expeditionary Corps.
1955 – The Maryland National Guard was ordered desegregated.
1962 – In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.
1969 – A group of 80 Native Americans, all college students, seized Alcatraz Island in the name of “Indians of All Tribes.” The occupation lasted 19 months. They offered $24 in beads and cloth to buy the island, demanded an American Indian Univ., museum and cultural center, and listed reasons why the island was a suitable Indian reservation.
1970 – UN General Assembly accepted membership of the People’s Republic of China.
1979 – Surprising many who believed fundamentalism was not a strong force in Saudi Arabia, Sunni Islamic dissidents seized control of the Grand Mosque at Mecca, one of the holiest sites in Islam. The (200) armed dissidents charged that the Al Saud regime had lost its legitimacy due to corruption and its closer ties to Western nations. The standoff lasted for several weeks before the Saudi military succeeded in removing the dissidents. More than 200 troops and dissidents were killed at the mosque, and subsequently over 60 dissidents were publicly beheaded.
1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released.
1990 – The space shuttle “Atlantis” landed at Cape Canaveral, Florida, after completing a secret military mission. November 20, 1990, 4:42:42 p.m. EST, Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, FL. Rollout distance: 9,032 feet. Rollout time: 57 seconds. Mission extended one day due to unacceptable crosswinds at original planned landing site, Edwards. Continued adverse conditions led to decision to shift landing to KSC. First KSC landing for Atlantis, first end-of-mission landing at KSC since April 1985.
1990 – The Soviet Union again rebuffed President Bush’s efforts to rally support for a UN Security Council resolution authorizing military force against Iraq.
1994 – The most heavily mined country in the world was Afghanistan, with between 10 and 15 million deadly mines. In Angola, one third of the countryside was strewn with mines and the toll of nearly 25 people a day who were injured or killed by land mines has left 20,000 amputees. Cambodia’s 7 million mines amount to two for every single Cambodian child, and between 200 and 250 people became victims every month. In Somalia, the laying of mines rose to new heights of terror as civilian areas were deliberately targeted. Truck loads of mines were scattered in houses, wells, river-crossings, markets, and even cemeteries. Presently, the area being mined most heavily is the war zone of the former Yugoslavia, where 3 million mines have been laid in just a few years. The US State Dept. estimated that 25,000 people are killed or maimed each year by mines. About 1.5 to 2 million new mines go into the ground each year. There is a British Rapid Antipersonnel Minefield Breaching System (RAMBS) manufactured by Pains-Wessex Schermuly that is fired from a rifle and clears a path 60 meters long and one meter wide in less than a minute.
1997 – Iraq agreed to allow US arms inspectors back into the country after Russia agreed to help work to lift UN Security Council sanctions. Prodded by Russia, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein agreed to allow U.S. arms monitors back into his country, ending a three-week crisis that had raised fears of a military confrontation with the United States.
1998 – Iraq balked at handing over documents on chemical and biological weapons and missile systems.
1998 – A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares accused terrorist Osama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
2000 – The EU began to build its own defense force, a 60,000 man, rapid reaction corps. EU defense chiefs pledged 100,000 soldiers, 400 planes and 100 ships for a rapid-reaction force.
2001 – In Afghanistan the Northern Alliance gave the Taliban in Kunduz 3 days to give up.
2001 – The alliance controlling Afghanistan’s capital and much of its countryside agreed to attend power-sharing talks in Germany the following week.
2001 – Abu Qatada (40), a Muslim cleric living in London, was named in a Spanish indictment as a pivotal figure in the al Qaeda network in Europe.
2002 – On the eve of a NATO summit in the Czech Republic, President Bush, recalling Europe’s grim history of “excusing aggression,” challenged skeptical allies to stand firm against Saddam Hussein.
2008– NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovers evidence of enormous underground deposits of water ice on Mars; one such deposit, under Hellas Planitia, is estimated to be the size of Los Angeles.
2008 – Five Guantánamo Bay detainees who successfully argued Boumediene v. Bush before the Supreme Court are ordered freed by Judge Richard J. Leon of the District Court for Washington, D.C. Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008), was a writ of habeas corpus submission made in a civilian court of the United States on behalf of Lakhdar Boumediene, a naturalized citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, held in military detention by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba. Guantanamo Bay is not formally part of the United States, and under the terms of the 1903 lease between the United States and Cuba, Cuba retained ultimate sovereignty over the territory, while the United States exercises complete jurisdiction and control. The case was consolidated with habeas petition Al Odah v. United States. It challenged the legality of Boumediene’s detention at the United States Naval Station military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as well as the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Oral arguments on the combined cases were heard by the Supreme Court on December 5, 2007. On June 12, 2008, Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion for the 5-4 majority, holding that the prisoners had a right to the habeas corpus under the United States Constitution and that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was an unconstitutional suspension of that right. The Court applied the Insular Cases, by the fact that the United States, by virtue of its complete jurisdiction and control, maintains “de facto” sovereignty over this territory, while Cuba retained ultimate sovereignty over the territory, to hold that the aliens detained as enemy combatants on that territory were entitled to the writ of habeas corpus protected in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. The lower court had expressly indicated that no constitutional rights (not merely the right to habeas) extend to the Guantanamo detainees, rejecting petitioners’ arguments, but the Supreme Court held that fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution extend to the Guantanamo detainees as well.
2011 – Jose Pimentel, a 27-year-old Dominican-American, is arrested in New York City after planning to detonate pipe bombs, according to New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. The suspect is believed to have Al-Qaeda sympathies, although no wider conspiracy is suspected.
2014 – The President of the United States Barack Obama announces executive orders to defer the deportations of a certain group of illegal immigrants: parents whose children are already U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the United States for five years or more.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
FALCONER, JOHN A.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company A, 17th Michigan Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Sanders, Knoxville, Tenn., 20 November 1863. Entered service at: Manchester, Mich. Born: 1844, Wachtenaw, Mich. Date of issue: 27 July 1896. Citation: Conducted the “burning party” of his regiment at the time a charge was made on the enemy’s picket line, and burned the house which had sheltered the enemy’s sharpshooters, thus insuring success to a hazardous enterprise.
HADLEY, CORNELIUS M.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company F, 9th Michigan Cavalry. Place and date: At siege of Knoxville, Tenn., 20 November 1863. Entered service at: Adrian, Mich. Born: 27 April 1838, Sandy Creek, Oswego County, N.Y. Date of issue: 5 April 1898. Citation: With one companion, voluntarily carried through the enemy’s lines important dispatches from Gen. Grant to Gen. Burnside, then besieged within Knoxville, and brought back replies, his comrade’s horse being killed and the man taken prisoner.
KELLEY, ANDREW J.
Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 17th Michigan Infantry. Place and date: At Knoxville, Tenn., 20 November 1863. Entered service at: Ypsilanti, Mich. Born: 2 September 1845, Lagrange County, Ind. Date of issue: 17 April 1900. Citation: Having voluntarily accompanied a small party to destroy buildings within the enemy’s lines whence sharpshooters had been firing, disregarded an order to retire, remained and completed the firing of the buildings, thus insuring their total destruction; this at the imminent risk of his life from the fire of the advancing enemy.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company E, 17th Michigan Infantry. Place and date: At Knoxville, Tenn. 20 November 1863. Entered service at: Chelsea, Mich. Birth: Skaneateles, N.Y. Date of issue: 3 August 1897. Citation: Having voluntarily accompanied a small party to destroy buildings within the enemy’s lines, whence sharpshooters had been firing, disregarded an order to retire, remained and completed the firing of the buildings, thus insuring their total destruction; this at the imminent risk of his life from the fire of the advancing enemy.
AUER, JOHN F.
Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman Apprentice, U.S. Navy. Born: 1866, New York. Accredited to: New York. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Lancaster, Marseille, France, 20 November 1883. Jumping overboard, Auer rescued from drowning a French lad who had fallen into the sea from a stone pier astern of the ship.
Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1852, Providence, R.I. Accredited to: Rhode Island. G.O. No.: 326, 18 October 1884. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Lancaster at Marseille, France, 20 November 1883. Jumping overboard from the Lancaster, Gillick rescued from drowning a French lad who had fallen into the sea from a stone pier astern of the ship.
WETHERBY, JOHN C.
Rank and organization: Private, Company L, 4th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: Near Imus, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 20 November 1899. Entered service at: Martinsville, Ind. Birth: Morgan County, Ind. Date of issue: 25 April 1902. Citation: While carrying important orders on the battlefield, was desperately wounded and, being unable to walk, crawled far enough to deliver his orders.
*BORDELON, WILLIAM JAMES
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 25 December 1920, San Antonio, Tex. Accredited to: Texas. Citation: For valorous and gallant conduct above and beyond the call of duty as a member of an assault engineer platoon of the 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, tactically attached to the 2d Marine Division, in action against the Japanese-held atoll of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands on 20 November 1943. Landing in the assault waves under withering enemy fire which killed all but 4 of the men in his tractor, S/Sgt. Bordelon hurriedly made demolition charges and personally put 2 pillboxes out of action. Hit by enemy machinegun fire just as a charge exploded in his hand while assaulting a third position, he courageously remained in action and, although out of demolition, provided himself with a rifle and furnished fire coverage for a group of men scaling the seawall. Disregarding his own serious condition, he unhesitatingly went to the aid of one of his demolition men, wounded and calling for help in the water, rescuing this man and another who had been hit by enemy fire while attempting to make the rescue. Still refusing first aid for himself, he again made up demolition charges and single-handedly assaulted a fourth Japanese machinegun position but was instantly killed when caught in a final burst of fire from the enemy. S/Sgt. Bordelon’s great personal valor during a critical phase of securing the limited beachhead was a contributing factor in the ultimate occupation of the island, and his heroic determination throughout 3 days of violent battle reflects the highest credit upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
BRILES, HERSCHEL F.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Co. C, 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Place and date: Near Scherpenseel, Germany, 20 November 1944. Entered service at: Fort Des Moines, lowa. Birth: Colfax, lowa. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945. Citation: He was leading a platoon of destroyers across an exposed slope near Scherpenseel, Germany, on 20 November 1944, when they came under heavy enemy artillery fire. A direct hit was scored on 1 of the vehicles, killing 1 man, seriously wounding 2 others, and setting the destroyer afire. With a comrade, S/Sgt. Briles left the cover of his own armor and raced across ground raked by artillery and small-arms fire to the rescue of the men in the shattered destroyer. Without hesitation, he lowered himself into the burning turret, removed the wounded and then extinguished the fire. From a position he assumed the next morning, he observed hostile infantrymen advancing. With his machinegun, he poured such deadly fire into the enemy ranks that an entire pocket of 55 Germans surrendered, clearing the way for a junction between American units which had been held up for 2 days. Later that day, when another of his destroyers was hit by a concealed enemy tank, he again left protection to give assistance. With the help of another soldier, he evacuated two wounded under heavy fire and, returning to the burning vehicle, braved death from exploding ammunition to put out the flames. By his heroic initiative and complete disregard for personal safety, S/Sgt. Briles was largely responsible for causing heavy enemy casualties, forcing the surrender of 55 Germans, making possible the salvage of our vehicles, and saving the lives of wounded comrades.
MABRY, GEORGE L., JR.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, 2d Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division Place and date: Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, 20 November 1944. Entered service at: Sumter, S.C. Birth: Sumter, SC G.O. No.: 77, September 1945. Citation: He was commanding the 2d Battalion, 8th Infantry, in an attack through the Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, on 20 November 1944. During the early phases of the assault, the leading elements of his battalion were halted by a minefield and immobilized by heavy hostile fire. Advancing alone into the mined area, Col. Mabry established a safe route of passage. He then moved ahead of the foremost scouts, personally leading the attack, until confronted by a boobytrapped double concertina obstacle. With the assistance of the scouts, he disconnected the explosives and cut a path through the wire. Upon moving through the opening, he observed 3 enemy in foxholes whom he captured at bayonet point. Driving steadily forward he paced the assault against 3 log bunkers which housed mutually supported automatic weapons. Racing up a slope ahead of his men, he found the initial bunker deserted, then pushed on to the second where he was suddenly confronted by 9 onrushing enemy. Using the butt of his rifle, he felled 1 adversary and bayoneted a second, before his scouts came to his aid and assisted him in overcoming the others in hand-to-hand combat. Accompanied by the riflemen, he charged the third bunker under pointblank small arms fire and led the way into the fortification from which he prodded 6 enemy at bayonet point. Following the consolidation of this area, he led his battalion across 300 yards of fire-swept terrain to seize elevated ground upon which he established a defensive position which menaced the enemy on both flanks, and provided his regiment a firm foothold on the approach to the Cologne Plain. Col. Mabry’s superlative courage, daring, and leadership in an operation of major importance exemplify the finest characteristics of the military service.
*CRESCENZ, MICHAEL J.
Rank and Organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company A, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. Place and date: Hiep Duc Valley area, Republic of Vietnam, 20 November 1968. Entered service at: Philadelphia, PA. Born: 14 January 1949, Philadelphia, Pa. Citation: Cpl. Crescenz distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a rifleman with Company A. In the morning his unit engaged a large, well-entrenched force of the North Vietnamese Army whose initial burst of fire pinned down the lead squad and killed the 2 point men, halting the advance of Company A. Immediately, Cpl. Crescenz left the relative safety of his own position, seized a nearby machine gun and, with complete disregard for his safety, charged 100 meters up a slope toward the enemy’s bunkers which he effectively silenced, killing the 2 occupants of each. Undaunted by the withering machine gun fire around him, Cpl. Crescenz courageously moved forward toward a third bunker which he also succeeded in silencing, killing 2 more of the enemy and momentarily clearing the route of advance for his comrades. Suddenly, intense machine gun fire erupted from an unseen, camouflaged bunker. Realizing the danger to his fellow soldiers, Cpl. Crescenz disregarded the barrage of hostile fire directed at him and daringly advanced toward the position. Assaulting with his machine gun, Cpl. Crescenz was within 5 meters of the bunker when he was mortally wounded by the fire from the enemy machine gun. As a direct result of his heroic actions, his company was able to maneuver freely with minimal danger and to complete its mission, defeating the enemy. Cpl. Crescenz’s bravery and extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
*LOZADA, CARLOS JAMES
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. place and date: Dak To, Republic of Vietnam, 20 November 1967. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 6 September 1946, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Lozada, U.S. Army, distinguished himself at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in the battle of Dak To. While serving as a machine gunner with 1st platoon, Company A, Pfc. Lozada was part of a 4-man early warning outpost, located 35 meters from his company’s lines. At 1400 hours a North Vietnamese Army company rapidly approached the outpost along a well defined trail. Pfc. Lozada alerted his comrades and commenced firing at the enemy who were within 10 meters of the outpost. His heavy and accurate machine gun fire killed at least 20 North Vietnamese soldiers and completely disrupted their initial attack. Pfc. Lozada remained in an exposed position and continued to pour deadly fire upon the enemy despite the urgent pleas of his comrades to withdraw. The enemy continued their assault, attempting to envelop the outpost. At the same time enemy forces launched a heavy attack on the forward west flank of Company A with the intent to cut them off from their battalion. Company A was given the order to withdraw. Pfc. Lozada apparently realized that if he abandoned his position there would be nothing to hold back the surging North Vietnamese soldiers and that the entire company withdrawal would be jeopardized. He called for his comrades to move back and that he would stay and provide cover for them. He made this decision realizing that the enemy was converging on 3 sides of his position and only meters away, and a delay in withdrawal meant almost certain death. Pfc. Lozada continued to deliver a heavy, accurate volume of suppressive fire against the enemy until he was mortally wounded and had to be carried during the withdrawal. His heroic deed served as an example and an inspiration to his comrades throughout the ensuing 4-day battle. Pfc. Lozada’s actions are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.