First Lieutenant Donald K. Schwab


First Lieutenant Donald K. Schwab

First Lieutenant Donald K. Schwab is being inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame for gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014, nine years after his death, for his actions on 17 September 1944.

Schwab was born on 6 December 1918, in Hooper, Dodge County, Nebraska. He was buried in the Hooper Cemetery after his death on 19 February 2005.

After his commissioning as an Infantry officer from the Army OCS at Fort Benning, Georgia, on 17 August 1942, First Lieutenant Donald K. Schwab would eventually be assigned as commander of Company E, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division during combat operations against the German Army near Lure, France, on 17 September 1944. That afternoon, as Lieutenant Schwab led his company across 400 yards of exposed ground, an intense, grazing burst of machinegun and machine-pistol fire sprung forth without warning from a fringe of woods directly in front of the American force.

Lieutenant Schwab quickly extricated his men from the attempted ambush and led them back to a defiladed position. Soon after, he was ordered to overwhelm the enemy line. He rapidly organized his men into a skirmish line and, with indomitable courage, again led them forward into the lethal enemy fire.

When halted a second time, Schwab moved from man to man to supervise the collection of the wounded and organize his company’s withdrawal. From defilade, he rallied his decimated force for a third charge on the hostile strong point and successfully worked his way to within 50 yards of the Germans before ordering his men to hit the dirt. While automatic weapons fire blazed around him, he rushed forward alone, firing his carbine at the German foxholes, aiming for the vital enemy machine-pistol nest which had sparked the German resistance and caused heavy casualties among his men.

Silhouetted through the mist and rain by enemy flares, he charged to the German emplacement, ripped the half-cover off the hostile firing pit, struck the German gunner on the head with his carbine butt and dragged the German back through a hail of fire to friendly lines.

First Lieutenant Schwab’s action so disorganized hostile enemy resistance that the enemy forces withdrew, abandoning their formidable defensive line. First Lieutenant Schwab’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

First Lieutenant Schwab's awards and decorations include the Medal of Honor (upgraded from Distinguished Service Cross by Defense Authorization Act of 2002 which reviewed Jewish and Hispanic Veteran DSC awards during World War II which may have overlooked a Medal of Honor for reasons of prejudice), Bronze Star, Purple Heart w/2 OLC, World War II Victory Medal and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/1 Silver Star.

Additional Information

Year Inducted
First Lieutenant

Author Info

Mary Cilia

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