- Second World War (1939-1945)
- 2nd Lieutenant (Second-lieutenant)
- Company E, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division "Big Red One", U.S. Army (Company E, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division "Big Red One", V Corps, First United States Army)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to John M. Spalding (0-1317433), Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company E, 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944, near Colleville-sur-Mer in France.
Upon reaching the beach in the initial landing on the coast of France, Second Lieutenant Spalding, completely disregarding his own personal safety, led his men up the beach to the slight cover of a shale shelf. Having suffered numerous casualties, he hesitated only long enough to reorganize his unit. He then led his men over an embankment, through barbed wire and across a thickly sown minefield. Second Lieutenant Spalding led his men in the attack on a series of enemy strongpoints and successfully destroyed them. Constantly ignoring heavy enemy fire, he at all times continued in the advance and personally destroyed an anti-tank gun which had been firing on beach targets with deadly effect. The personal bravery and superior leadership demonstrated by Second Lieutenant Spalding exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 31 (July 1, 1944).