The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
McCALL, THOMAS E.
Rank and Organization:: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company F, 143d Infantry, 36th
Infantry Division. Place and Date Near San Angelo, Italy, 22 January 1944. Entered
Service at: Veedersburg, Ind. Birth: Burton, Kans. G.O. No.: 31, 17
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk
of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 22 January 1944, Company F had the mission
of crossing the Rapido River in the vicinity of San Angelo, Italy, and attacking the
well-prepared German positions to the west. For the defense of these positions the enemy
had prepared a network of machinegun positions covering the terrain to the front with a
pattern of withering machinegun fire, and mortar and artillery positions zeroed in on the
defilade areas. S/Sgt. McCall commanded a machinegun section that was to provide added
fire support for the riflemen. Under cover of darkness, Company F advanced to the river
crossing site and under intense enemy mortar, artillery, and machinegun fire crossed an
ice-covered bridge which was continually the target for enemy fire. Many casualties
occurred on reaching the west side of the river and reorganization was imperative.
Exposing himself to the deadly enemy machinegun and small arms fire that swept over the
flat terrain, S/Sgt. McCall, with unusual calmness, encouraged and welded his men into an
effective fighting unit. He then led them forward across the muddy, exposed terrain.
Skillfully he guided his men through a barbed-wire entanglement to reach a road where he
personally placed the weapons of his two squads into positions of vantage, covering the
battalion's front. A shell landed near one of the positions, wounding the gunner, killing
the assistant gunner, and destroying the weapon. Even though enemy shells were falling
dangerously near, S/Sgt. McCall crawled across the treacherous terrain and rendered first
aid to the wounded man, dragging him into a position of cover with the help of another
man. The gunners of the second machinegun had been wounded from the fragments of an enemy
shell, leaving S/Sgt. McCall the only remaining member of his machinegun section.
Displaying outstanding aggressiveness, he ran forward with the weapon on his hip, reaching
a point 30 yards from the enemy, where he fired 2 bursts of fire into the nest, killing or
wounding all of the crew and putting the gun out of action. A second machinegun now opened
fire upon him and he rushed its position, firing his weapon from the hip, killing 4 of the
guncrew. A third machinegun, 50 yards in rear of the first two, was delivering a
tremendous volume of fire upon our troops. S/Sgt. McCall spotted its position and
valiantly went toward it in the face of overwhelming enemy fire. He was last seen
courageously moving forward on the enemy position, firing his machinegun from his hip.
S/Sgt. McCall's intrepidity and unhesitating willingness to sacrifice his life exemplify
the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.