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Van Fleet, James Alward

Date of birth:
March 19th, 1892 (Coytesville/New Jersey, United States)
Date of death:
September 23rd, 1992 (Polk City/Florida, United States)
Buried on:
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: 7. Grave: 8195A.
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

Servicenumber 0-3847.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Colonel
Unit:
8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division "Ivy Division", U.S. Army
Awarded on:
June 20th, 1944
Citation:
"For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while Commanding the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces from 6 to 8 June 1944, in France. In the initial landing and assault upon the European continent, Colonel Van Fleet quickly organized his troops and pushed them rapidly across the beach in an orderly and determined manner, brushing aside resistance and thereby greatly expediting the early establishment of the Division beachhead. Colonel Van Fleet was always well forward and on numerous occasions personally went up to check his battalions. His superior leadership and personal example of courage aided in clearing the beach with a minimum of casualties and substantially contributed to the rapid advance of the division to its D- Day objective. On 7 June 1944, while the enemy was using observed fire to vigorously shell the highways and avenues of approach in the vicinity of his unit, he displayed cool leadership and skill in maintaining order under severely trying conditions, and did so encourage and inspire confidence in all members of the Combat Team that they followed his example and advanced with no hesitation, and with minimum losses of both men and equipment. This was at a critical time when a failure to procure advanced positions would have endangered the success of the operation. On the morning of 8 June 1944, while visiting his front line battalions, with disregard for his personal safety, he captured an enemy guard and procured important information from him which aided the Regiment in successfully advancing against the enemy's strongly entrenched successive positions. The cool fearlessness, personal bravery, and leadership displayed by Colonel Van Fleet were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States, reflecting great credit upon himself, the 4th Infantry Division, and the United States Army."

Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 28

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

Headquarters, 4th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 52 (Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Unit:
HQ, 2nd Infantry Division "Indianhead", U.S. Army
Awarded on:
1944

Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu
Silver Star Medal (SSM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Unit:
HQ, 90th Infantry Division "Tough 'Ombres", U.S. Army
Awarded on:
1945
Synopsis:
"For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while Commanding the 90th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces during the period 6 to 22 December 1944, in the Saar River operations. Major General Van Fleet personally directed laying and maintaining a smoke screen which in spite of shifting winds, unpredictable weather, and fierce enemy action, completely concealed all crossing movements from the enemy. His gallant leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 90th Infantry Division, and the United States Army."

This award was obtained in the form of an Oak Leaf to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
General Orders No. 29, Headquarters Third U.S. Army
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Unit:
HQ, III Army Corps, Third U.S. Army. U.S. Army
Awarded on:
1945
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Citation:
"For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Headquarters, III Army Corps, in action against enemy forces on 9 January 1945 in military operations in Luxembourg. On that date, near Nothum, Luxembourg, General Van Fleet proceeded to the scene of a scheduled advance vital to the mission of the entire corps. Displaying courageous leadership, he visited all elements participating in the attack, fearlessly exposing himself to heavy enemy artillery, mortar, and rocket fire, and inspiring the men by his cool demeanor and conspicuous bravery. With utter disregard for his own safety he remained with the forward units until he was assured of the success of the mission. General Van Fleet's heroic actions and unswerving devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the III Corps, and the United States Army."

This award was obtained in the form of a second Oak Leaf to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
General Orders No. 133, Headquarters Third U.S. Army.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Awarded on:
1945
Received for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War II.

General Orders No. 28, War Department.
Distinguished Service Medal - Army (DSM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Awarded on:
1947

War Department, General Orders No. 60
Distinguished Service Medal - Army (DSM)
Period:
Korean War (1950-1953)
Rank:
Lieutenant General
Awarded on:
1950

Department of the Army, General Orders No. 32
Distinguished Service Medal - Army (DSM)
Period:
Korean War (1950-1953)
Rank:
General
Awarded on:
March 26th, 1953
"For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility from 14 April 1951 to 11 February 1953."
Distinguished Service Medal - Army (DSM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)

Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star  Medal (BSM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)

Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star  Medal (BSM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)

Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)

Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart

Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit - US Military
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)

Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)

w/ 3 bronze service stars
World War I Victory Medal
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)

w/ Arrowhead and five Service stars
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
National Defense Service Medal (NDSM)
Period:
Korean War (1950-1953)

w/ seven Service stars
Korean Service Medal (KSM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)

With swords
Ridder Grootkruis in de Orde van Oranje Nassau (ON.1)
Period:
Korean War (1950-1953)

With Gold Star

Sources

  • Photo 1: US Army
  • Photo: U.S. Army photo
  • - Obituary, Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1992, p. A28
    - Obituary, New York Times, September 24, 1992, p. D24
    - Home of Heroes.com
    - Valor Awards

Photo