The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
HAWK, JOHN D.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S.
Army, Company E, 359th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near
Chambois, France, 20 August 1944. Entered service at: Bremerton, Wash. Birth:
30 May 1924, San Francisco, Calif. G.O. No.: 55, 13 July 1945.
He manned a light machinegun on 20 August 1944, near Chambois, France, a key point in the
encirclement which created the Falaise Pocket. During an enemy counterattack, his position
was menaced by a strong force of tanks and infantry. His fire forced the infantry to
withdraw, but an artillery shell knocked out his gun and wounded him in the right thigh.
Securing a bazooka, he and another man stalked the tanks and forced them to retire to a
wooded section. In the lull which followed, Sgt. Hawk reorganized 2 machinegun squads and,
in the face of intense enemy fire, directed the assembly of 1 workable weapon from 2
damaged guns. When another enemy assault developed, he was forced to pull back from the
pressure of spearheading armor. Two of our tank destroyers were brought up. Their shots
were ineffective because of the terrain until Sgt. Hawk, despite his wound, boldly climbed
to an exposed position on a knoll where, unmoved by fusillades from the enemy, he became a
human aiming stake for the destroyers. Realizing that his shouted fire directions could
not be heard above the noise of battle, he ran back to the destroyers through a
concentration of bullets and shrapnel to correct the range. He returned to his exposed
position, repeating this performance until 2 of the tanks were knocked out and a third
driven off. Still at great risk, he continued to direct the destroyers' fire into the
Germans' wooded position until the enemy came out and surrendered. Sgt. Hawk's fearless
initiative and heroic conduct, even while suffering from a painful wound, was in large
measure responsible for crushing 2 desperate attempts of the enemy to escape from the
Falaise Picket and for taking more than 500 prisoners.