Many brave men served in our armed services during World War II, but certainly one of the bravest was Llewellyn M. Chilson. Born on April 1, 1920 in Dayton, Ohio, his father Frank was a veteran of World War I. He was drafted into the Army on March 28, 1942. He served with the 45th “Thunderbird” Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. By the end of the War he had risen in rank from Private to Technical Sergeant and earned the following decorations: 3 Distinguished Service Crosses (the second highest decoration for valor in the United States Army), 3 Silver Stars, 2 Bronze Stars, 1 Legion of Merit and two purple hearts. Go here to read his citations for the decorations that he earned.
Here is the citation for his third Distinguished Service Cross:
“For extraordinary heroism in action, as Platoon Sergeant, Company G, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, on 26 March 1945. During the crossing of the Rhine River near Gernsheim, Germany, Technical Sergeant Chilson distinguished himself by his coolness, bravery, and aggressiveness. When the leader of the Second Platoon, the assault platoon of the company, was wounded, he, by his own initiative, assumed command and quickly organised the platoon into a compact, efficient assault force and with vigor and keen judgement led his force along the river bank. Despite heavy and intense enemy fire of all types and all calibers, he, because of his exceptional self-sacrifice and disreguard of his personal safety, performed outstandingly intrepid actions, resulting in the death of eleven enemy soldiers and in the capture of a total of two hundred and twenty-five prisoners. In addition, Technical Sergeant Chilson personally destroyed an ammunition vehicle and two heavy machine guns and the destruction of three enemy flak vehicles. The brilliant and exemplary leadership and superior devotion to duty which characterized his accomplishments, contributed directly to the company’s combat successes and reflects the highest credit upon himself and the armed forces of the United States.”
After a brief time out of the service, Chilson re-enlisted in the Army and retired as a Master Sergeant after 17 years.
When he was awarded 7 of his decorations by Harry Truman on December 6, 1946, the most medals for valor ever awarded to a US soldier at one time, Truman called him a one man army and said that Chilson deserved the Medal of Honor. I agree. He died in 1981. God rest his gallant soul.