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Chappuis, Steve Archie "Silent Steve"

Date of birth:
December 28th, 1913 (Rayne/Louisiana, United States)
Date of death:
August 19th, 2008
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Colonel
Unit:
502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles", U.S. Army (502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles", U.S. Army)
Awarded on:
January 14th, 1945
Action:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Steve A. Chappuis (0-20899), Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Commanding Officer, 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, in action against enemy forces on 25 December 1944, in Belgium. During the siege of Bastogne by overwhelming enemy forces, Colonel Chappius commanded a regiment of the defending 101st Airborne Division. When the enemy launched a fierce attack with strong infantry and armored forces in a supreme effort to seize the town, Colonel Chappius mustered all available cooks, drivers and orderlies to augment his depleted, widely deployed troops and skillfully maneuvered his forces to meet the attack. Under his courageous, inspiring leadership his men held, repulsing every attempt by the enemy to penetrate the lines. He repeatedly exposed himself to intense enemy fire in order to direct his troops effectively and personally reconnoitered enemy infested territory, completely disregarding his own safety. The heroic, inspiring leadership of Colonel Chappius, and his personal courage and supreme devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 101st Airborne Division, and the United States Army.
Details:
Headquarters, 3rd U.S. Army, G. O. No. 14 (January 14th, 1945).
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Colonel
Unit:
2nd Battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles", U.S. Army (2nd Battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles", U.S. Army)
Awarded on:
November 14th, 1946
Action:
For having distinguished himself in battle by extraordinary deeds of courage, tact and loyalty in the following manner: In the defense of the bridge on the Wilhelmina Canal near Best, the 3rd batallion of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment was almost completely surrounded by vastly superiour enemy forces supported by light and medium artillery and anti-aircraft weapons of all sizes. When he was ordered to relieve this batallion with his 2nd batallion, he found himself two miles away with a large part of the enemy forces between him and 3rd batallion. Although there was no artillery nor tanks available to form a counterbalance against the heavy weapons of the enemy, Colonel Chappuis led his batallion unhesitatingly forward over the exposed terrain. He led his men through a hailstorm of all sorts of projectiles, the batallion soon suffering heavy casualties but nevertheless moving steadily forward. As the attack continued and a vacuum had occurred in the lines of attack, diminishing the strength of the attack, Colonel Chappuis formed a new group of stragglers and led them personally against the enemy, driving him back until the surrounded batallion was relieved and the enemy driven back in rout to their positions in Best. By his cool and capable leadership under the heaviest fire and setting an example of personal courage, he succeeded in inspiring his batallion to the highest degree of courage and vigour.
Details:
Royal decree no.35
Ridder vierde klasse der Militaire Willems Orde (MWO.4)

Sources

  • - Rapport, L., Northwood Jr., A, Rendezvous with Destiny – A History of the 101st Airborne Division, The Battery Press, Nashville, USA, 2000 (reprint of the original 1948 edition not the later 1965 second edition)
    - The Dutch Medals Page
    - 101airborneww2.com
    - ww2-airborne.us