Decorated Bar man .....
Soldier:
Pfc. Thomas F. Edwards
Date: January 1945
Location: Somewhere in Belgium
Unit: 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 Infantry Division.

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 German nest.

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.

Personal Photographs



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 Laura.

 

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