DALESSONDRO, PETER J.
Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant,
U.S. Army, Company E, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near
Kalterherberg, Germany, 22 December 1944. Entered service at: Watervliet, N.Y. Born:
19 May 1918, Watervliet, N.Y. G.O. No.: 73, 30 August, 1945.
He was with the 1st Platoon holding an important road junction on high ground near
Kalterherberg, Germany, on 22 December 1944. In the early morning hours, the enemy after
laying down an intense artillery and mortar barrage, followed through with an all-out
attack that threatened to overwhelm the position. T/Sgt. Dalessondro, seeing that his men
were becoming disorganized, braved the intense fire to move among them with words of
encouragement. Advancing to a fully exposed observation post, he adjusted mortar fire upon
the attackers, meanwhile firing upon them with his rifle and encouraging his men in
halting and repulsing the attack. Later in the day the enemy launched a second determined
attack. Once again, T/Sgt. Dalessondro, in the face of imminent death, rushed to his
forward position and immediately called for mortar fire. After exhausting his rifle
ammunition, he crawled 30 yards over exposed ground to secure a light machinegun, returned
to his position, and fired upon the enemy at almost pointblank range until the gun jammed.
He managed to get the gun to fire 1 more burst, which used up his last round, but with
these bullets he killed 4 German soldiers who were on the verge of murdering an aid man
and 2 wounded soldiers in a nearby foxhole. When the enemy had almost surrounded him, he
remained alone, steadfastly facing almost certain death or capture, hurling grenades and
calling for mortar fire closer and closer to his outpost as he covered the withdrawal of
his platoon to a second line of defense. As the German hordes swarmed about him, he was
last heard calling for a barrage, saying, "OK, mortars, let me have it--right in this
position!" The gallantry and intrepidity shown by T/Sgt. Dalessondro against an
overwhelming enemy attack saved his company from complete rout.