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Sgt. Vernon McGarity, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for action during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, died today i

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  • Sgt. Vernon McGarity, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for action during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, died today i

    Sgt. Vernon McGarity, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for action during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, died today in Memphis, Tenn. at age 91. Allied forces, which had been moving toward Germany after the D-Day invasion of France, were caught unaware by the counteroffensive and were initially pushed back. McGarity's unit in the 99th Division held its position until reinforcements came. Although outnumbered 5 to 1, it inflicted casualties by a ratio of 18 to 1. McGarity was wounded, but after receiving treatment he refused to be evacuated and rejoined his unit. At daybreak the next day, Sgt, McGarity risked his life to rescue a wounded soldier, then as the Germans attacked with tanks and infantry, he dashed to where he could fire a rocket launcher, destroying the lead tank. The other tanks withdrew under fire. He rescued another wounded American, then directed fire destroying a German light cannon. When ammunition ran low, he braved gunfire to retrieve ammunition stored 100 yards away. McGarity then single-handedly attacked a machine gun emplacement, killing or wounding all the gunners. Only when his squad's last round had been fired were the Germans able to advance and capture him and his troops. He spent the next six months in a POW camp. The Battle of the Bulge resulted in 75,000 American casualties and 19,000 dead. German casualties were estimated at 100,000. The battle eroded Germany's military resources, and the Allies marched on to Berlin. May he rest in peace.

  • #2
    My Father-in-Law was in the same Division and was captured during the same battle. He was a German POW for 6 months until he was liberated. He lost over 70 pounds during the 6 months he was a POW and was wounded trying to escape. He died at the age of 64 of a massive heart attack. That was the turning point I think of WWII.

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    • #3
      Amen

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      • #4
        When presenting McGarity with his Medal of Honor in October 1945, President Harry S. Truman said he'd rather have won the medal himself than be president.
        There are 79 Medal of Honor recipients who are still alive, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

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        • #5
          99, you forgot to mention that the temperature was well below zero during this battle, and our troops were not very well supplied due to our own difficulties in supplying the troops.
          My neighbor who lives butt against my property was one of the Marines who invaded Iwo Jima during WWII, these men, I fear, were nearly the last of their kind. I do not know if my neighbor was decorated in any way, it would probably be worth asking.

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          • #6
            I just spent a while trying to find a muster roll for the invasion of Iwo Jima, but to no avail. Does anyone know where I might be able to find a complete listing of those who served on the island?

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            • #7
              May the Good Lord watch over all who Served in all wars

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              • #8
                What an amazing story. Sgt. McGarity certainly deserved to be awarded the Medal and more for what he did for his fellow warriors and for this nation.

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                • #9
                  We will loose the last of these stories with the passing of these brave men and women over the next few years. If you know a WWII vet, take some time to talk to them now while you have a chance to hear their stories. They are all interesting and worth hearing.


                  My own grandfather will turn 94 in a few weeks. He grew up very poor as the oldest of four boys in a single parent home during the height of the Great Depression. (He describes being too poor to hunt small game with anything but a .22. Shotgun shells were too expensive). He had a good life built for himself and my grandmother by 1942 and was making good money working on an aircraft assembly line but he walked away from it to serve in the Army Air Corps. He didn't see combat. He kept fighters in the air and flying out of airfields in England, France, and Germany for 3 years. He didn't meet my mother until she was three. He's never described his service as doing anything other than what needed to be done. Two of his three brothers also served. The third and youngest served in Korea.

                  There are still stories out there to be heard. If you know a vet, ask them.

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                  • #10
                    We are losing the members of the Greatest Generation at an alarming rate, yet we are bombarded by the Kardasians, Justin Beiber,Lindsey Lohan and the like. Thank all you who have served and are now serving our country. And thank those of you for postings such as this one so that we don't ever forget.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you 99'- its humbling to read, and hard to fathom. The man had more life changing accomplishments in a single battle than I can hope to achieve in a lifetime. I pray that Mr. McGarity knew the Lord. May God be with his family in a time of need.

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                      • #12
                        A true American Hero. Several years back I had the privalge to escort a WWII Medal of Honor recipient for several days. Very humble man with great stories. Walter Ehlers still lives in Kansas and from my understanding he still makes apperiences every now and then.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks 99 for bringing this to our attention. I have the utmost respect for all who served in our military forces; especially for those who have contributed so much. May he rest in peace and may all of us appreciate the personal sacrifices and valor of so many who have gone before us. Our lifestyle and freedom would not exist without them.

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                          • #14
                            It's a sad day, but he's home now.

                            You won't read about him or any other American Hero in any text book anymore, which makes this truly a sad day.

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                            • #15
                              In Two Days it will be June,6th. The Day We lost 3,000 Good Men Fighting for Freedom on the Beaches of Normandy....God Bless them all.

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