0400 hours, 26 December 1944.
The German Army mounts an ambitious offensive called “Operation Winter Storm.” With a relentless assault in Northern Italy, they force the 92nd US Infantry Division to pull back.
Although most of the U.S. infantry forces have withdrawn from the town, First Lieutenant John R. Fox and members of his forward observer party remain behind on the second floor of a house, directing defensive fire, delaying the German offensive in order to protect their comrades.
The Germans are converging on his position. Lieutenant Fox is outmanned and outgunned, but he knows that he and his few men are all that stand between the Germans and the 92nd. He orders the artillery strikes closer, until the enemy is nearly on top of him.
He calls in one last strike. His commander protests, stating, “Fox, that will be on you!” The last communication from Lieutenant Fox was, “Fire It! There’s more of them than there are of us. Give them hell!”
The resulting artillery barrage killed Lt. Fox and approximately 100 German soldiers surrounding his position. Fox’s sacrifice gained time for U.S. forces to organize a counterattack. The village was recaptured by January 1, 1945.
The Medal of Honor was posthumously presented to Fox on January 12, 1997. His citation reads, in part, …” This action, by Lieutenant Fox, at the cost of his own life, inflicted heavy casualties, causing the deaths of approximately 100 German soldiers, thereby delaying the advance of the enemy until infantry and artillery units could by reorganized to meet the attack. Lieutenant Fox’s extraordinarily valorous actions exemplify the highest traditions of the military service.”