The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*McVElGH, JOHN J.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant, U .S. Army, Company
H, 23d Infantry, 2d Infantry Division. Place and Date Near Brest, France, 29 August
1944. Entered Service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. G.O.
No.: 24, 6 April 1945.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of
duty near Brest, France, on 29 August 1944. Shortly after dusk an enemy counterattack of
platoon strength was launched against 1 platoon of Company G, 23d Infantry. Since the
Company G platoon was not dug in and had just begun to assume defensive positions along a
hedge, part of the line sagged momentarily under heavy fire from small arms and 2 flak
guns, leaving a section of heavy machineguns holding a wide frontage without rifle
protection. The enemy drive moved so swiftly that German riflemen were soon almost on top
of 1 machinegun position. Sgt. McVeigh, heedless of a tremendous amount of small arms and
flak fire directed toward him, stood up in full view of the enemy and directed the fire of
his squad on the attacking Germans until his position was almost overrun. He then drew his
trench knife. and single-handed charged several of the enemy. In a savage hand-to-hand
struggle, Sgt. McVeigh killed 1 German with the knife, his only weapon, and was advancing
on 3 more of the enemy when he was shot down and killed with small arms fire at pointblank
range. Sgt. McVeigh's heroic act allowed the 2 remaining men in his squad to concentrate
their machinegun fire on the attacking enemy and then turn their weapons on the 3 Germans
in the road, killing all 3. Fire from this machinegun and the other gun of the section was
almost entirely responsible for stopping this enemy assault, and allowed the rifle platoon
to which it was attached time to reorganize, assume positions on and hold the high ground
gained during the day.