Today in 1944 Roy Harmon from Talala, Oklahoma, at great price, drew immortality. He was a Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 362d Infantry, 91st Infantry Division. His place in the sand was near my father’s fight. Near Casaglia, Italy, 12 July 1944. Born in Talala, Okla. His Medal of Honor was given 2 October 1945. His citation says” He was an acting squad leader when heavy machinegun 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.
The 100th American Legion coins are in great demand. We voted to buy 20 more 100th Anniversary coins as we have sold all we had. Will pick those up this week when the commander and vice commander go the State Convention in Shawnee.
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. No meals till the 19th as the chef is taking a well-deserved leave. He will be back to do his magic 19 July at 6:00 PM before the meeting. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in July are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.