William R. Benn Jr.

Medal_of_Honor_ribbon-131x37Distinguished Service Cross
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  • Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, 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. 45 (1944)

Citation: Technical Sergeant William R. Benn, Jr., 12009565, 16th Infantry, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy on 6 June 1944, in France. Technical Sergeant Benn landed on the coast of France with the initial assault waves under heavy enemy small arms, mortar and rocket fire. His platoon leader was seriously wounded as soon as they reached the beach and he immediately assumed command. He led his platoon under heavy enemy fire through an uncharted minefield and up the steep slope toward the enemy positions. The intense enemy fire caused severe casualties and threatened to stop the advance. Technical Sergeant Benn, completely disregarding his own safety, advanced alone towards the enemy position. He approached through the hail of hire to within 25 yards of the enemy guns at which point he threw hand grenades into the enemy positions, silencing their guns. Though seriously wounded in the course of this action, Technical Sergeant Benn persisted in his efforts until he had carried out his self-appointed mission. The personal bravery and aggressive leadership displayed by Technical Sergeant Benn reflects great credit on himself and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces. Entered military service from Pennsylvania.

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