In my January 2 Wall Street Journal piece I wrote about several remarkable individuals we lost in 2013. When remembering the valiant Medal of Honor recipients who passed last year, there was one who was unintentionally omitted from our list. In addition to Sgt. John Hawk, Master Sgt. Nicholas Oresko, Cpl. Rodolfo Hernandez, and Col. George “Bud” Day, Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Vernon McGarity of Tennessee died on May 21, 2013.
Sgt. McGarity was wounded in an artillery assault as the Battle of the Bulge began in December 1944, but determined to help his men, he charged back to his team instead of having a medical evaluation. Despite heavy fire and the bitter winter conditions, Sgt. McGarity rescued at least two of his fellow soldiers, immobilized the lead German tank assaulting their position, moved toward the enemy to retrieve more ammunition, and held position with his men until they had depleted their last rounds. Our country is forever grateful and ever stronger for having men and women with the caliber and bravery of heroes like these.