Atwood M. McElyea

Medal_of_Honor_ribbon-131x37Distinguished Service Cross
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  • Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Colleville-sur-Mer, France, 6 June 1944
  • G.O. No.: HQ, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 82 (1944)

Citation: Second Lieutenant Atwood M. McElyea, O2046692, 16th Infantry, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy on 6 June 1944, in France. On D-Day, Second Lieutenant McElyea courageously moved across the fire-swept invasion beach, located a breach in a barbed wire fence and personally led his troops through the gap. Upon reaching a deep, booby-trapped anti-tank ditch, he plunged into it unhesitatingly and cleared it of anti-personnel obstacles before leading his men across. When his company was pinned down a short time later by a heavy artillery concentration and intense fire from a well emplaced machine gun, Second Lieutenant McElyea, undaunted and with great personal valor, crept several hundred yards toward the weapon. Fearlessly, he engaged it singlehandedly to divert its fire, this permitting his men to advance safely into position on the enemy’s flank. When attempted to rejoin his men to lead an assault on the position, he was severely injured by a burst of machine gun fire. By his fearless leadership, heroic achievement and unflinching devotion to duty, Second Lieutenant McElyea acted in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces. Entered military service from Connecticut.

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