- Second World War (1939-1945)
- 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division "Ivy Division", U.S. Army
- Awarded on:
- June 20th, 1944
"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