103d INFANTRY DIVISION WORLD WAR II ASSOCIATION

103d Infantry Division History: World War II

Awards for the Cactus Division during World War II

 

1 MEDAL OF HONOR AWARD FOR 103D INFANTRY DIVISION OPERATION AT CLIMBACH, FRANCE

 

On December 14, a task force of the 411th Infantry Regiment, consisting of a company of infantry, along with a platoon of tanks and C Company of the 614th TD with its towed anti-tank guns, was organized to attack Climbach, a French town just outside the German border. Although First Lieutenant Charles L. Thomas of the 614th Tank Destroyer Company, attached to the 411th Infantry Regiment of the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) initially awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery, on January 13, 1997, Captain Thomas had his Distinguished Service Cross upgraded to The Congressional Medal of Honor.

 

For extraordinary heroism in action on 14 December 1944, near Climbach, France. While riding in the lead vehicle of a task force organized to storm and capture the village of Climbach, France, then First Lieutenant Thomas's armored scout car was subjected to intense enemy artillery, self-propelled gun, and small arms fire. Although wounded by the initial burst of hostile fire, Lieutenant Thomas signaled the remainder of the column to halt and, despite the severity of his wounds, assisted the crew of the wrecked car in dismounting. Upon leaving the scant protection which the vehicle afforded, Lieutenant Thomas was again subjected to a hail of enemy fire which inflicted multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, legs, and left arm. Despite the intense pain caused by these wounds, Lieutenant Thomas ordered and directed the dispersion and emplacement of two antitank guns which in a few moments were promptly and effectively returning the enemy fire. Realizing that he could no longer remain in command of the platoon, he signaled to the platoon commander to join him. Lieutenant Thomas then thoroughly oriented him on enemy gun dispositions and the general situation. Only after he was certain that his junior officer was in full control of the situation did he permit himself to be evacuated. First Lieutenant Thomas' outstanding heroism were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.

 

12 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS AWARDS FOR 103D INFANTRY DIVISION

 

The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguishes himself or herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor; while engaged in an action against an enemy of the Unites States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing/foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing Armed Force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades.

 

 

1 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL AWARD FOR 103D INFANTRY DIVISION

 

The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Army, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service which is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration.

 

3 LEGION OF MERIT AWARDS FOR 103D INFANTRY DIVISION

 

The Legion of Merit is awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States without reference to degree for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The performance must have been such as to merit recognition of key individuals for service rendered in a clearly exceptional manner. Performance of duties normal to the grade, branch, specialty or assignment, and experience of an individual is not an adequate basis for this award. For service not related to actual war the term "key individual" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of significant achievement.

 

14 SOLDIER'S MEDAL AWARDS FOR 103D INFANTRY DIVISION

 

The Soldier’s Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States, or of a friendly foreign nation who while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distinguished him/herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. The same degree of heroism is required as for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The performance must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy.

 

2,669 BRONZE STAR MEDAL AWARDS FOR 103D INFANTRY DIVISION

 

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the military of the United States after 6 December 1941:

 

a. Distinguished himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

 

b. For acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star.

 

c. To recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The required achievement or service while of lesser degree than that required for the award of the Legion of Merit must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

 

NO RECORD OF THE NUMBER OF PURPLE HEARTS AWARDED TO THE 103D INFANTRY DIVISION HOWEVER THERE WERE 6,762 CASUALTIES DURING THE 6 MONTHS OF COMBAT

 

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force who:

 

a. While serving with the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded;

 

(1) In any action against an enemy of the United States;

 

(2) In any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged;

 

(3) While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party;

 

(4) As a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces;

 

(5) As the result of an act of any hostile foreign force;

 

(6) After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the department concerned, or jointly by the Secretaries of the departments concerned if persons from more than one department are wounded in the attack; or,

 

(7) After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations, while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.

 

(8) After 7 December 1941, by weapon fire while directly engaged in armed conflict, regardless of the fire causing the wound.

 

(9) While held as a prisoner of war or while being taken captive.

 

b. A wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer.

 

92 AIR MEDAL AWARDS FOR 103D INFANTRY DIVISION

 

The Air Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the armed forces of the United States, shall have distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or heroism or for meritorious service. Award of the Air Medal is primarily intended to recognize those personnel who are on current crew member or non-crew member flying status which requires them to participate in aerial flight on a regular and frequent basis in the performance of their primary duties. However, it may also be awarded to certain other individuals whose combat duties require regular and frequent flying in other than a passenger status or individuals who perform a particularly noteworthy act while performing the function of a crew member but who are not on flying status. These individuals must make a discernible contribution to the operational land combat mission or to the mission of the aircraft in flight. Examples of personnel whose combat duties require them to fly include those in the attack elements of units involved in air-land assaults against an armed enemy and those directly involved in airborne command and control of combat operations. Involvement in such activities, normally at the brigade/group level and below, serves only to establish eligibility for award of the Air Medal; the degree of heroism, meritorious achievement or exemplary service determines who should receive the award.

 

American Defense Service Medal

American Campaign Medal

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal

World War II

Victory Medal

Army of Occupation Medal

Combat Infantry Badge

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