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.
The 3rd Infantry Division is a combined arms division of the United States Army at Fort Stewart, Georgia. It is a direct subordinate unit of the XVIII Airborne Corps and U.S. Army Forces Command. Its current organization includes a division headquarters and headquarters battalion, two armored brigade combat teams, one National Guard infantry brigade combat team, a task force unit, one aviationbrigade, a division artillery, a sustainment brigade and a combat sustainment support battalion along with a maneuver enhancement brigade. The division has a distinguished history, having seen active service in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror. The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 56 members of the 3rd Infantry Division, making the division the most honored in the Army.
The division fought in France in World War I. In World War II, it landed with Gen. Patton's task force in a contested amphibious landing on the coast of Morocco, North Africa, overwhelming Vichy French defenders in November 1942. In 1943, the division invaded Sicily in July, and invaded Italy at Salerno in September, before fighting in France and finally Germany. Medal of honor recipient Audie Murphy, featured in the Hollywood movie, "To Hell and Back," was a member. The division also served in the Korean War. From 1957 until 1996, the division was a major part of the United States Army's presence in the NATO alliance in West Germany.
"The Rock of the Marne" (Special Designation), Rock of the Marne
Motto(s);Nous Resterons Là(We Shall Remain There)
NOTABLE PERSON (s):
Commander: Joseph Theodore Dickman (October 6, 1857 – October 23, 1927) was a United States Army officer who saw service in five wars, rising to the rank of major general.Dickman was given command of the 3rd Infantry Division in November 1917, at the onset of the United States' entrance into World War I. He deployed the 3rd Division to France aboard the Leviathan at noon, on March 4, 1918. He was the 3rd Division commander at Chateau-Thierry in May 1918 and was made famous at the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918. While allied forces on both flanks retreated, the 3rd Division stood fast in the face of enemy offensives, which led to their moniker, "The Rock of the Marne."
Howze's last assignment was to preside over the court-martial of Colonel Billy Mitchell, who had made public comments in response to the Navy dirigible USS Shenandoah crashing in a storm
The crash killed 14 of the crew and Mitchell issued a statement accusing senior leaders in the Army and Navy of incompetence and "almost treasonable administration of the national defense." In November 1925 he was court-martialed at the direct order of PresidentCalvin Coolidge.
MOH Recipient : PFC John Lewis Barkley (August 28, 1895 – April 14, 1966) U.S. Army, Company K, 4th Infantry, 3rd Division.
Private First Class Barkley, who was stationed in an observation post half a kilometer from the German line, on his own initiative repaired a captured enemy machinegun and mounted it in a disabled French tank near his post. Shortly afterward, when the enemy launched a counterattack against our forces, Private First Class Barkley got into the tank, waited under the hostile barrage until the enemy line was abreast of him and then opened fire, completely breaking up the counterattack and killing and wounding a large number of the enemy. Five minutes later an enemy 77-millimeter gun opened fire on the tank pointblank. One shell struck the drive wheel of the tank, but this soldier nevertheless remained in the tank and after the barrage ceased broke up a second enemy counterattack, thereby enabling our forces to gain and hold Hill 25.
MOH Recipient: PVT Herbert F. Christian (June 18, 1912 – June 3, 1944) For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 2–3 June 1944, at 1 a.m., Pvt. Christian elected to sacrifice his life in order that his comrades might extricate themselves from an ambush. Braving massed fire of about 60 riflemen, 3 machineguns, and 3 tanks from positions only 30 yards distant, he stood erect and signaled to the patrol to withdraw. The whole area was brightly illuminated by enemy flares. Although his right leg was severed above the knee by cannon fire, Pvt. Christian advanced on his left knee and the bloody stump of his right thigh, firing his submachine gun. Despite excruciating pain, Pvt. Christian continued on his self-assigned mission. He succeeded in distracting the enemy and enabled his 12 comrades to escape. He killed 3 enemy soldiers almost at once. Leaving a trail of blood behind him, he made his way forward 20 yards, halted at a point within 10 yards of the enemy, and despite intense fire killed a machine-pistol man. Reloading his weapon, he fired directly into the enemy position. The enemy appeared enraged at the success of his ruse, concentrated 20-mm. machinegun, machine-pistol and rifle fire on him, yet he refused to seek cover. Maintaining his erect position, Pvt. Christian fired his weapon to the very last. Just as he emptied his submachinegun, the enemy bullets found their mark and Pvt. Christian slumped forward dead. The courage and spirit of self-sacrifice displayed by this soldier were an inspiration to his comrades and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the armed forces.
Herbert F. Christian
MOH Recipient: Tech. 5th Grade Eric Gunnar Gibson (October 3, 1919 – January 28, 1944) For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On January 28, 1944, near Isolabella, Italy, Tech. 5th Grade Gibson, company cook, led a squad of replacements through their initial baptism of fire, destroyed four enemy positions, killed 5 and captured 2 German soldiers, and secured the left flank of his company during an attack on a strongpoint. Placing himself 50 yards in front of his new men, Gibson advanced down the wide stream ditch known as the Fosso Femminamorta, keeping pace with the advance of his company. An enemy soldier allowed Tech. 5th Grade Gibson to come within 20 yards of his concealed position and then opened fire on him with a machine pistol. Despite the stream of automatic fire which barely missed him, Gibson charged the position, firing his submachine gun every few steps. Reaching the position, Gibson fired pointblank at his opponent, killing him. An artillery concentration fell in and around the ditch; the concussion from one shell knocked him flat. As he got to his feet Gibson was fired on by two soldiers armed with a machine pistol and a rifle from a position only 75 yards distant. Gibson immediately raced toward the foe. Halfway to the position a machinegun opened fire on him. Bullets came within inches of his body, yet Gibson never paused in his forward movement. He killed one and captured the other soldier. Shortly after, when he was fired upon by a heavy machinegun 200 yards down the ditch, Gibson crawled back to his squad and ordered it to lay down a base of fire while he flanked the emplacement. Despite all warning, Gibson crawled 125 yards through an artillery concentration and the cross fire of 2 machineguns which showered dirt over his body, threw 2 hand grenades into the emplacement and charged it with his submachine gun, killing 2 of the enemy and capturing a third. Before leading his men around a bend in the stream ditch, Gibson went forward alone to reconnoiter. Hearing an exchange of machine pistol and submachine gun fire, Gibson's squad went forward to find that its leader had run 35 yards toward an outpost, killed the machine pistol man, and had himself been killed while firing at the Germans.