GARMAN, HAROLD A.
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army,
Company B, 5th Medical Battalion, 5th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near
Montereau, France, 25 August 1944. Entered service at: Albion, Ill. Born: 26
February 1918, Fairfield, Ill. G.O. No: 20, 29 March 1945.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty. On 25 August 1944, in the vicinity of Montereau, France, the enemy was
sharply contesting any enlargement of the bridgehead which our forces had established on
the northern bank of the Seine River in this sector. Casualties were being evacuated to
the southern shore in assault boats paddled by litter bearers from a medical battalion.
Pvt. Garman, also a litter bearer in this battalion, was working on the friendly shore
carrying the wounded from the boats to waiting ambulances. As 1 boatload of wounded
reached midstream, a German machinegun suddenly opened fire upon it from a commanding
position on the northern bank 100 yards away. All of the men in the boat immediately took
to the water except 1 man who was so badly wounded he could not rise from his litter. Two
other patients who were unable to swim because of their wounds clung to the sides of the
boat. Seeing the extreme danger of these patients, Pvt. Garman without a moment's
hesitation plunged into the Seine. Swimming directly into a hail of machinegun bullets, he
rapidly reached the assault boat and then while still under accurately aimed fire towed
the boat with great effort to the southern shore. This soldier's moving heroism not only
saved the lives of the three patients but so inspired his comrades that additional assault
boats were immediately procured and the evacuation of the wounded resumed. Pvt. Garman's
great courage and his heroic devotion to the highest tenets of the Medical Corps may be
written with great pride in the annals of the corps.