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William Joseph O'Brien



Fading light dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky,
    Gleaming bright.
From afar drawing nigh,    
    Falls the night.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, From the hills,
    From the sky.
All is well, safel
y rest,
    God is nigh.

Then good night, Peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn
    Shineth bright,
God is near, do not fear,
  Friend, good night.

St. Peter's Cemetery


Born:  1899 at Troy, NY

Entered Service in the US Army from Troy, NY

Earned The Medal of Honor During World War II For heroism June 20 - July 07, 1944 at Saipan, Marianas Islands

Died:  July 07, 1944 at the age of 45

When his platoon was held up by enemy fire, Lieutenant Colonel O'Brien ordered three tanks to knock out the strongpoint. The tanks' turrets were closed, causing them to lose direction and fire into our own troops. LTC O'Brien dashed into view of the enemy and pounded on the tank with his pistol butt to attract attention and, mounting it fully exposed to enemy fire, personally directed the assault. On June 28 he captured a ridge by a double envelopment movement of two battalions, personally controlling the maneuver. He crossed 1,200 yards of sniper-infested underbrush alone to reach one of his platoons. Leaving men to contain the enemy he personally led four men into a ravine and killed or drove off all the enemy. He captured 5 machineguns and one 77-mm fieldpiece. LTC O'Brien then organized two platoons for night defense. On July 7 two battalions were attacked by an enemy force estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000. With bloody hand-to-hand fighting in progress everywhere, LTC O'Brien refused to leave the front lines. Even after he was wounded, he refused to be evacuated and manned a .50 caliber machinegun, mounted on a jeep. When last seen alive he was standing upright firing into the Jap hordes that were then enveloping him.



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