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This Is Why We Stand: Arthur O. Beyer


Near Arloncourt, Belgium on January 15, 1945, Corporal Arthur Otto Beyer fought with a relentless fury that no enemy opposing the U.S. Army could withstand. Serving with Company C, 603d Tank Destroyer Battalion during the Battle of the Bulge, Beyer embarked on a self-imposed mission that resulted in two destroyed German machine-gun positions, eight enemy combatants killed, and 18 captured prisoners.

On that fateful day of combat, Corporal Beyer’s platoon was held up by antitank, machine-gun, and rifle fire from German troops dug in along a ridge about 200 yards to the front. Beyer was a tank-destroyer gunner and fired his 76-mm gun at an enemy machine-gun position. His shot silenced the weapon and killed one of its crew. The corporal proceeded to dismount from his vehicle and crossed open ground to capture the two remaining members of the machine-gun team. About 250 yards to the left, another weapon crew dedicated their efforts to stopping Beyer. He pushed through the withering fire and reached the second machine-gun position. Beyer tossed a grenade into the emplacement, killing one combatant and again capturing two survivors.

Corporal Beyer was a target and enemy small-arms fire focused on bringing him down, but the American soldier did not flinch. Beyer made his way a quarter mile along the German ridge. He used his carbine and grenades to attack enemy soldiers in their foxholes. When his relentless assault ended, Beyer had destroyed two machine-gun positions, killed eight of the enemy, and captured 18 prisoners, including two bazooka teams. His determination to face the enemy head on eliminated the German defense line, enabling the corporal’s task force to gain its objective.

Beyer’s actions warranted the United States military’s highest decoration. On August 30, 1945, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman. Like so many American heroes during the Second World War, the courage of Arthur O. Beyer prevailed over every obstacle that the enemy threw his way.

Sources

Congressional Medal of Honor Society: Arthur O. Beyer.

U.S. Army Center of Military History: Arthur O. Beyer Medal of Honor Citation.

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