Saturday, March 31, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Medal of Honor hero Jack Pendleton, 30th Infantry Division

Staff Sergeant Jack Pendleton earned the Medal of Honor in urban fighting
similar to these men from the 30th Infantry Division. 
Jack James Pendleton never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on March 31, 1918 in North Dakota. His parents Grover and Dora were born in Minnesota and Iowa, respectively. His father worked as a farmer and later, after moving to Washington, as a ice plant laborer. He died in 1931. Jack had one older brother and one younger sister. By 1940 Jack had completed six years of education and was living at home while working as a clerk for a sawmill.

He was drafted into the army on July 7, 1942. He became a staff sergeant in Company I, 3rd Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. The 30th ID arrived in Normandy on D+5. It help lead the breakout from Normandy and the drive across France. It reached Germany and attacked Aachen in October 1944. During this battle Sgt. Pendleton's actions would result in a posthumous Medal of Honor. 

Sgt. Pendleton's Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 12 October 1944. 

When Company I was advancing on the town of Bardenberg, Germany, they reached a point approximately two-thirds of the distance through the town when they were pinned down by fire from a nest of enemy machineguns. 

This enemy strong point was protected by a lone machinegun strategically placed at an intersection and firing down a street which offered little or no cover or concealment for the advancing troops. The elimination of this protecting machinegun was imperative in order that the stronger position it protected could be neutralized. 

After repeated and unsuccessful attempts had been made to knock out this position, S/Sgt. Pendleton volunteered to lead his squad in an attempt to neutralize this strongpoint. S/Sgt. Pendleton started his squad slowly forward, crawling about 10 yards in front of his men in the advance toward the enemy gun. After advancing approximately 130 yards under the withering fire, S/Sgt. Pendleton was seriously wounded in the leg by a burst from the gun he was assaulting. 

Disregarding his grievous wound, he ordered his men to remain where they were, and with a supply of handgrenades he slowly and painfully worked his way forward alone. With no hope of surviving the veritable hail of machinegun fire which he deliberately drew onto himself, he succeeded in advancing to within 10 yards of the enemy position when he was instantly killed by a burst from the enemy gun. 

By deliberately diverting the attention of the enemy machine gunners upon himself, a second squad was able to advance, undetected, and with the help of S/Sgt. Pendleton's squad, neutralized the lone machinegun, while another platoon of his company advanced up the intersecting street and knocked out the machinegun nest which the first gun had been covering. 

S/Sgt. Pendleton's sacrifice enabled the entire company to continue the advance and complete their mission at a critical phase of the action.

His grave is at Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima, Washington.

Thank you Jack for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Jack.

Last year on this date I profiled army sergeant Harold Shoe. You can read about Harold here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project:

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WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

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