*TOWLE, JOHN R.
Rank and Organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company C, 504th Parachute Infantry,
82d Airborne Division. Place and Date Near Oosterhout, Holland, 21 September 1944. Entered
Service at: Cleveland, Ohio. Birth: Cleveland, Ohio. G.O. No.: 18, 15
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of
duty on 21 September 1944, near Oosterhout, Holland. The rifle company in which Pvt. Towle
served as rocket launcher gunner was occupying a defensive position in the west sector of
the recently established Nijmegen bridgehead when a strong enemy force of approximately
100 infantry supported by 2 tanks and a half-track formed for a counterattack. With full
knowledge of the disastrous consequences resulting not only to his company but to the
entire bridgehead by an enemy breakthrough, Pvt. Towle immediately and without orders left
his foxhole and moved 200 yards in the face of Intense small-arms fire to a position on an
exposed dike roadbed. From this precarious position Pvt. Towle fired his rocket launcher
at and hit both tanks to his immediate front. Armored skirting on both tanks prevented
penetration by the projectiles, but both vehicles withdrew slightly damaged. Still under
intense fire and fully exposed to the enemy, Pvt. Towle then engaged a nearby house which
9 Germans had entered and were using as a strongpoint and with 1 round killed all 9.
Hurriedly replenishing his supply of ammunition, Pvt. Towle, motivated only by his high
conception of duty which called for the destruction of the enemy at any cost, then rushed
approximately 125 yards through grazing enemy fire to an exposed position from which he
could engage the enemy half-track with his rocket launcher. While in a kneeling position
preparatory to firing on the enemy vehicle, Pvt. Towle was mortally wounded by a mortar
shell. By his heroic tenacity, at the price of his life, Pvt. Towle saved the lives of
many of his comrades and was directly instrumental in breaking up the enemy counterattack.