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Nowak, Walter J.



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Second World War (1939-1945)
2nd Lieutenant
Company L, 339th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division "Custer Division" U.S.Army (Company L, 339th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division "Custer Division" U.S.Army)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Walter J. Nowak, Second Lieutenant (Infantry), [then Sergeant], U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company L, 339th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on the night of 11 May 1944, near Tremensuoli, Italy. When his platoon leader and platoon sergeant became casualties in an artillery and mortar barrage, Second Lieutenant Nowak, Squad Leader, assumed command of the platoon, rallied his men and continued the advance. After leading his men through a swiftly moving stream, he preceded the advance through a heavily mined area, probing with his bayonet for mines. While moving around the edge of a hill, the platoon encountered crossfire from three mutually supporting pillboxes situated on the objective. Ordering his men to engage the enemy in a fire fight, Second Lieutenant Nowak advanced up a bare slope to the first pillbox. Raising himself to the level of an embrasure he threw several grenades into the position, killing its five defenders. Continuing his advance to the second and third pillboxes, he repeated his tactics, killing thirteen Germans. Driving two other Germans into the open he engaged them in a fierce bayonet fight and succeeded in killing both. The courage, skill at arms and able leadership displayed by Second Lieutenant Nowak exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 85th Infantry Division and the United States Army.
HQ Fifth U.S. Army, GO 4, 1945
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)


  • - Schultz, P., The 85th Infantry Division in World War II, The Battery Press, Nashville, USA, 1980