Army Serial Number: 06920404 After the war, Bender returned to West Virginia and worked for the Veterans Administration in Beckley, West Virginia
Stanley Bender’s heroic actions on August 17, 1944, would earn him the Medal of Honor. Bender was born in Fayette County West Virginia in 1909, the son of a coal miner and Russian immigrant. His family moved to Chicago in 1930, and Bender enlisted in the Army in 1939. During World War II, he saw action in North Africa and Italy. Following the Normandy invasion, the Allies were pushing eastward across France toward Germany. On August 17, 1944, Bender’s company encountered a German force near La Lande in southern France. Bender rushed through intense fire from German machine guns and grenades. He knocked out two German machine guns with rifle fire and inspired the rest of his company to take out a German roadblock. All told, Bender’s company killed 37 enemy soldiers and captured 26 prisoners that day. For his heroism, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in early 1945. After the war, Bender returned to West Virginia and worked for the Veterans Administration in Beckley. He died in 1994 at age 84. A bridge on the West Virginia Turnpike(I-77) in Fayette County iwas named in Stanley Bender’s honor. After construction of a new road on I-77(West Virginia Turnpike) at The Memorial Tunnel, that bridge was abandoned and demolished.
Stanley Bender, 85, a highly decorated and publicized hero of World War II who won the Medal of Honor for knocking out two German machine-gun nests. Bender was an Army staff sergeant when, two months after the June, 1944, Normandy invasion, he stormed through a rain of bullets and grenades to take out the machine-gunners. His actions were credited with inspiring his troops to overwhelm the occupied town of La Londe, France. Bender also was awarded France’s highest award, the Croix de Guerre, as well as the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and seven battle stars. Two bridges on the West Virginia Turnpike were named in his honor, the first in 1954, and the second in 1987. Passed away in Oak Hill, West Virgina on Wednesday of cancer.