Summary

Awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life" during the Battle of Monte Cassino.

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Staff Sergeant 1
Birth:
09 May 1916 2
Burton, Kansas 3
Kansas 1
Death:
19 Sep 1965 3
Susquehanna River, north of Washington, D. C. 4
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Thomas Edward McCall 4
Full Name:
Thomas E McCall 1
Birth:
09 May 1916 2
Burton, Kansas 2
Kansas 1
Death:
19 Sep 1965 2
Susquehanna River, north of Washington, D. C. 3
Cause: Drowned saving his 8-year-old son 3
Burial:
Spring Vale Cemetery, Lafayette, Indiana 5
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Marriage:
Maxine Jeffries 3
1946 3
Lafayette, Indiana 3
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World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Staff Sergeant 1
Enlistment Location:
Indiana 1
Award:
Medal of Honor 4
Date:
22 Jan 1944 1
Location:
Near San Angelo, Italy 1
Military Unit:
Company F, 143d Infantry, 36 Infantry Division 1

Other Service 3

Branch:
Army 3
Service Start Date:
1942 3
Service End Date:
1965 3

Korean War 2

Branch:
Army 2
Rank:
Master Sergeant 2

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Stories

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 22 January 1944, Company F had the mission of crossing the Rapido River in the vicinity of San Angelo, Italy, and attacking the well-prepared German positions to the west. For the defense of these positions the enemy had prepared a network of machinegun positions covering the terrain to the front with a pattern of withering machine-gun fire, and mortar and artillery positions zeroed in on the defilade areas. SSgt. McCall commanded a machinegun section that was to provide added fire support for the riflemen. Under cover of darkness, Company F advanced to the river crossing site and under intense enemy mortar, artillery, and machinegun fire crossed an ice-covered bridge which was continually the target for enemy fire. Many casualties occurred on reaching the west side of the river and reorganization was imperative. Exposing himself to the deadly enemy machinegun and small-arms fire that swept over the flat terrain, SSgt. McCall, with unusual calmness, encouraged and welded his men into an effective fighting unit. He then led them forward across the muddy, exposed terrain. Skillfully he guided his men through a barbed-wire entanglement to reach a road where he personally placed the weapons of his two squads into positions of vantage, covering the battalion's front. A shell landed near one of the positions, wounding the gunner, killing the assistant gunner, and destroying the weapon. Even though enemy shells were falling dangerously near, SSgt. McCall crawled across the treacherous terrain and rendered first aid to the wounded man, dragging him into a position of cover with the help of another man. The gunners of the second machinegun had been wounded from the fragments of an enemy shell, leaving SSgt. McCall the only remaining member of his machinegun section. Displaying outstanding aggressiveness, he ran forward with the weapon on his hip, reaching a point 30 yards from the enemy, where he fired 2 bursts of fire into the nest, killing or wounding all of the crew and putting the gun out of action., A second machinegun now opened fire upon him and he rushed its position, firing his weapon from the hip, killing 4 of the guncrew. A third machinegun, 50 yards in rear of the first two, was delivering a tremendous volume of fire upon our troops. SSgt. McCall spotted its position and valiantly went toward it in the face of overwhelming enemy fire. He was last seen courageously moving forward on the enemy position, firing his machinegun from his hip. SSgt. McCall's intrepidity and unhesitating willingness to sacrifice his life exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.

Medal of Honor

San Angelo, Italy

McCall was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions near San Angelo, Italy, on 22 January 1944 during the Battle of Monte Cassino. A staff sergeant at the time and commander of a machinegun section, McCall and his company were supposed to cross a river and attack German positions. After intense enemy fire, McCall was the only one of his section not killed or wounded, and he singlehandedly took out two German machinegun nests. He charged a third nest but was captured and taken prisoner of war for 16 months. 

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