The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Major General Matthew Bunker Ridgway (ASN: 0-5264), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Commanding Officer, 82d Airborne Division, in action against the enemy from 6 June 1944 to 9 June 1944, in France. Major General Ridgway jumped by parachute at approximately 0200 prior to the dawn of "D" Day and landed about 3/4 mile northeast of *****, France, to spearhead the parachute landing assault of his Airborne Division on the Cotentin Peninsula. Throughout "D" Day, he visited every point in the then surrounded area in order to evaluate the opposition and to encourage his men. He penetrated to the front of every active sector without thought of the personal danger involved. He exposed himself continuously to small arms, mortar and artillery fire; as, by his presence and through words of encouragement, he greatly assisted and personally directed the operations of one of his battalions in the important task of securing the bridgehead across the ***** River, which required a frontal assault against strongly entrenched enemy positions. His personal bravery and his heroism were deciding factors in the success of his unit in France. Major General Ridgway's gallant leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 82d Airborne Division, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 35 (July 19, 1944)
Action Date: June 6 - 9, 1944
Rank: Major General
Company: Commanding General
Division: 82d Airborne Division