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Combs, Rex G.

    Date of birth:
    May 13th, 1912 (Grand City/Missouri, United States)
    Date of death:
    July 3rd, 1976 (Chicago/Illinois, United States)
    Service number:
    O-1824725
    Nationality:
    American (1776 - present, Republic)

    Biography

    Enlisted 26th July 1942 in Los Angeles, California. He was trained as a Tank Destroyer at Fort Knox but was then selected to attend OCS (Officer Candidate School) at Camp Hood, Texas. Was briefly attached to the 515th Parachute Infantry Regiment from 7th July 1943 to 31st December 1943 and afterwards 25th April 1944 to 21st May 1946 to the 1st Batallion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
    Rex G. Combs died at 3 July 1976 in Chicago of a heart attack during the 508th's 2nd Annual Reunion.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    1st Lieutenant
    Unit:
    Company A, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division "All American", U.S. Army
    Awarded on:
    1944
    For wounds received in action on 19 June 1944 in France.

    Headquarters 82nd Airborne Division, General Orders No. 54 (1944).
    Purple Heart
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    1st Lieutenant
    Unit:
    Company A, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division "All American", U.S. Army
    Awarded on:
    May 21st, 1945
    Awarded for:
    Operation Market Garden
    Citation:
    "For gallantry in action on 17 September 1945 near Wyler, Germany. First Lieutenant Combs, Platoon Leader, Company A, landed by parachute with his men about 2500 yards from the drop zone inside Germany. Though subjected to immediate small arms and automatic fire, First Lieutenant Combs organized his group and, by his daring courage unhesitatingly led an attack on the enemy positions in an effort to rejoin his unit. First Lieutenant Combs, though wounded in the plane by flak prior to the Jump, attacked with such speed and ferociousness, and was successful in killing over twenty-one of the enemy and causing fifty-nine to surrender. Throughout this attack, First Lieutenant Combs demonstrated exemplary and gallant courage in directing the fire and movements of his men. First Lieutenant Combs' actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Airborne Forces of the United states Army."

    Headquarters 82nd Airborne Division, General Orders No. 72 (21 May 1945).
    Silver Star Medal (SSM)
    Citation:
    "For gallantry in action on 3 July 1944 near ***, France. In the attack on Hill 131, First Lieutenant Combsí Company encountered a force of approximately sixty Germans who had been bypassed by the leading elements of the Battalion. The enemy attacked the left flank of the company with heavy machine guns and machine pistols, achieving such a surprise by this attack that the company was pinned down and was in danger of being forced back with heavy losses. Taking six men, First Lieutenant Combs crawled forward to a point of vantage from which he could observe the enemy. Deploying his men so as to give him covering fire, First Lieutenant Combs rushed forward with a TSMG with such ferocity that he killed fifteen Germans and captured forty-five. First Lieutenant Combs' heroism and gallant actions reflect great credit upon himself and upon the Airborne Forces of 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.
    Headquarters 82nd Airborne Division, General Orders No. 73 (22 May 1945).
    Lieutenant Combs earned the Silver Star on two occasions. The date of action cited for this award of the Oak Leaf Cluster actually preceded that of the Silver Star award due to a mix-up in award dates. This action in July 1944 was awarded on 22 May 1945 while the Silver Star award for action on 22 Sept 1944 was awarded a day earlier.
    Citation:
    "Distinquishing himself during the operations of the 82nd Airborne Division in the area of Nijmegen in the period from 17th September 1944 to 4th October 1944 by doing particularly gallant and tactful deeds and setting in every respect, a praise worthy example in very difficult circumstances"

    Royal decree no.31 dated 8th October 1945.
    He was wounded in the plane by FLAK before he jumped and was mistakenly dropped in Wyler, Germany with the rest of his men. The first paratrooper to hit German soil.
    For wounds received in action on 17 September 1944 in Holland.

    This award was obtained in the form of an Oak Leaf to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
    Headquarters 82nd Airborne Division, General Orders No. 8 (1945).
    For wounds received in action on 7 January 1945 in Belgium.

    This award was obtained in the form of a second Oak Leaf to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
    Headquarters 82nd Airborne Division, General Orders No. 8 (1945).
    For wounds received in action on 7 November 1944 in Holland.

    This award was obtained in the form of a third Oak Leaf to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
    Headquarters 82nd Airborne Division, General Orders No. 12 (1945).

    Lieutenant Combs' Oak Leaf Clusters were awarded out of date sequence.
    For wounds received in action on 29 October 1944 in Holland.

    This award was obtained in the form of a fourth Oak Leaf to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
    Headquarters 82nd Airborne Division, General Orders No. 34 (1945).

    Lieutenant Combs' Oak Leaf Clusters were awarded out of date sequence.

    Sources