“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham
In my last offering, I spoke of my father and his activities during WWII against the Nazi. I thought it would be appropriate to continue honoring other Oklahomans who served valiantly in our conflicts. It would be suitable to reflect on a Medal of Honor Recipient. This man from Talala, Ok helps us to define what our recent 4th of July holiday really means.
Roy Harmon was a Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 362d Infantry, 91st Infantry Division. He distinguished himself near Casaglia, Italy, 12 July 1944; the same path my father walked. His citation included the following: He was an acting squad leader when heavy machine gun fire from enemy positions, well dug in on commanding ground and camouflaged by haystacks, stopped his company’s advance and pinned down 1 platoon where it was exposed to almost certain annihilation. Ordered to rescue the beleaguered platoon by neutralizing the German automatic fire, he led his squad forward along a draw to the right of the trapped unit against 3 key positions which poured murderous fire into his helpless comrades. When within range, his squad fired tracer bullets in an attempt to set fire to the 3 haystacks which were strung out in a loose line directly to the front, 75, 150, and 250 yards away.
Realizing that this attack was ineffective, Sgt. Harmon ordered his squad to hold their position and voluntarily began a 1-man assault. Carrying white phosphorus grenades and a submachine gun, he skillfully took advantage of what little cover the terrain afforded and crept to within 25 yards of the first position. He set the haystack afire with a grenade, and when 2 of the enemy attempted to flee from the inferno, he killed them with his submachine gun. Crawling toward the second machinegun emplacement, he attracted fire and was wounded; but he continued to advance and destroyed the position with hand grenades, killing the occupants. He then attacked the third machinegun, running to a small knoll, then crawling over ground which offered no concealment or cover.
About halfway to his objective, he was again wounded. But he struggled ahead until within 20 yards of the machinegun nest, where he raised himself to his knees to throw a grenade. He was knocked down by direct enemy fire. With a final, magnificent effort, he again arose, hurled the grenade and fell dead, riddled by bullets. His missile fired the third position, destroying it. Sgt. Harmon’s extraordinary heroism, gallantry, and self-sacrifice saved a platoon from being wiped out, and made it possible for his company to advance against powerful enemy resistance.
On another note a special thanks to those who violated the first rule of any enlisted person in the military “never volunteer for anything”. These culprits include Dan Rathbun, Jim Hale, and Charlie O’Leary who helped Johnny Doudna. We can excuse O’Leary, after all he was an officer. Thanks to them we have an AC cooled facility!
By the way we had a great turn out the morning of the 4th of July for a flag ceremony at the Hut. All the men stood proud and saluted as commander and Steve Swinford retired the old flag and posted the new one (Thanks Babo!).
Our regular meetings are the first and third Thursdays. We meet at 1900 hrs. (That’s 7 PM for the non-Army guys. The Army guys get real confused with the AM and PM letters so we have to make it easy for them). An added plus is that quarterly the meeting will be a shared event with the Auxiliary (more details to follow). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for July are still up and running starting around 0700 till about 0900. Come by where we catch up on each other’s mischief and storytelling. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print!