Somewhere in Belgium
Company F, 394th Regiment, 99th Infantry Division
Private First Class Thomas F. Edwards of Martinsville,
Virginia was a BAR man with Company F of the 394th Regiment, 99th
In Belgium, January 1945, Thomas' platoon was
pinned down by withering fire from a German machine gun nest which
had allready cut down several of his buddies. Thomas rose from his
hiding place on the ground and launched a one-man attack on the
Unmindful of the hail bullets coming to towards
him, which miraculously missed him, Edwards kept running towards
the enemy machine while firing all 160 rounds from his automatic
weapon until he had completely wiped the nest out. Edwards was decoeatd
with the Silver Star for this courageous action.
Later Edwards participated in the colorful ceremony
of raising the US National Colors over the historic fortress of
Ehrenbreitstein in Germany on the Army Day, 6th of April. "I
guess it was the biggest moment in my army life", Edwards said
later as he spoke about the thrills of seeing the Stars and Stripes
lifted again over the fortress for the first time since it was taken
down at the end of the American occupation in 1923. "And then
to top this off" , Edwards continued, "I spoke and shook
hands with General Omar N. Bradley, himself!"
Edwards was on of the combat soldiers picked from
each Division in the 12th Army Group under the command of General
Bradley to participate in the flagraising ceremony at Ehrenbreitstein,
which was recently recaptured by the 69th Division.
Thus on that day Pfc. Thomas F. Edwards stood
with an honored platoon of outstanding soldiers of the 12th Army
Group. Among the military leaders present there were General Bradley,
Lt. General Courtney L. Hedges (1st Army), Lt. General George S.
Patton (3rd Army) Lt. General Leonard T. Gerow (15th Army) and Lt.
General H. Simpson (9th Army).
After the war, Thomas F. Edwards came home and
led a good and happy life with his wife and children, until he died
on 31st October, 1997 at the VA hospital in Roanoke, VA.
The shoulderpatch of the 99th Infantry Division.
The lady on the left is Thomas' wife, Lena.
She passed on 22 March 2004. Lady on the right is his sister