John W. White DSC Recipient
June 12, 1954 - Boston Globe
On D-day, John W. White of South Street, Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts
leaped from the landing craft coming onto Omaha Beach on H-Hour, and
looked around for his buddies. White, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor on that fateful
day was then platoon sergeant of
A, 2nd Rangers,
commanded by Ltc. James E. Rudder. "Quite a few men got hit
as soon as the ramp went down," White recalls. "Men died right
in the water."
With less than half of the company reaching the shelter of the sea wall.
White added that the other survivors realized that they had to get off
the beach and onto high ground. "We could not do anything
until we got to the top of the hill. It didn't take long for them to
realize that." White recalls. "We crossed about 30 yards of
sand and about 15 yards of shale. There were wrecked houses nearby,
probably beach villas. "We decided to get into the shelter of those
houses as quickly as possible. "It was all pretty confused, of
course, and men were scattered in small groups." "I do
remember that as our group hit the second house, Germans inside opened
fire on us. "Those Germans did not last long, we got them."
While remembering most of the men in his company and the fine work they
did, but it was only after considerable probing that White finally
admitted taking a group forward, surprising 30 Germans on top of hill
overlooking the beach and "getting them" as he fired burst
after burst from his machine gun he carried. He was a veteran of
five campaigns during WW II, he rates the D-day invasion landing just
east of the Vierville draw, as "one of the toughest."
White, a native of
, Mass, trained at
and went overseas with
the 2nd Battalion Rangers in October 1943. He was hit by shrapnel
at the start of the "
of the Bulge." In January 1945, he received a
battlefield promotion from top sergeant to second lieutenant while in
for the Distinguished Service Cross
Sgt John W. White, 31135430, Infantry, United Stated Army. For
extraordinary heroism in action from action from 6 - 8 June 1944 at
Vierville and Pointe du Hoc, France. When all the officers of his
company became casualties in the initial landing on the coast of France
from the devastating enemy fire, he assumed command of machine gun
positions and directed fire on the enemy positions. Later he personally
acted as the point of the column while advancing from the beach to
Pointe du Hoc. On this advance, Sgt White exposed himself to the direct
rifle and machine gun fire of the enemy, as well as sniper fire.
Technical Sgt White's excellent leadership and gallantry under such
difficult and hazardous circumstances is in keeping with the highest
traditions of the service. Entered military service from Massachusetts.
and story courtesy, Bill Payne, nephew of John W. White