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This Is Why We Stand: Archer T. Gammon


During the Battle of the Bulge, American soldiers made overwhelming sacrifices to thwart Germany’s last major offensive of the Second World War. In some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict, the U.S. Army fought on with legendary resilience. Leading the way on the ground were men like Staff Sergeant Archer T. Gammon, who went above and beyond the call of duty to save his platoon from being decimated.

Serving with Company A, 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division, near Bastogne, Belgium on January 11, 1945, Gammon and his platoon were advancing through the woods when they were stopped cold by intense enemy fire. Threatening the unit from the left flank was a German Tiger Royal Tank. Gammon rushed forward through the thick snow, then cut to the left, crossing the width of the platoon’s skirmish line to get within grenade range of the enemy tank and its defenders. German riflemen and a machinegun emplacement concentrated their fire on the staff sergeant, but he charged the automatic weapon and wiped out the gun crew with grenades. As Gammon continued his furious assault, he advanced to within 25 yards of the armored behemoth. The American warrior put down two infantrymen with rifle fire as his progress continued.

Gammon’s single-handed attack forced the enemy tank into a pattern of backing up and then firing. As the mighty vehicle took up the defensive, Staff Sergeant Gammon was struck by a direct hit from the Tiger Royal’s heavy gun, killing him instantly. His relentless attack cleared the woods of German forces. Even the tank that had ended his life continued to withdraw, opening the path for the squad leader’s platoon.

At 26 years old, Staff Sergeant Archer T. Gammon gave his life for his country. On February 13, 1946, he was posthumously awarded the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. His extreme courage during one of the fiercest battles of World War II will forever enshrine his immortal place as an American hero.

Sources

Congressional Medal of Honor Society: Archer T. Gammon.

NCO Journal: Staff Sgt. Archer T. Gammon.

U.S. Army Center of Military History: Archer T. Gammon Medal of Honor citation.

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