John M. Spalding

John M. Spalding
Born 17 December 1914
Died 6 November 1959 (aged 45)
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Unit 1st Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Other work Kentucky state politician

John M. Spalding (often misspelled Spaulding in official Army reports) (December 17, 1914 – November 6, 1959) was an officer in the U.S. 1st Infantry Division during World War II.

Biography

Spalding was a native of Owensboro, Kentucky. He is famous as one of the first officers (a lieutenant at the time for E Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry) to make it up to the top of bloody Omaha Beach and clear out German defenses from behind. He and his men, including his sergeant, Philip Streczyk, helped make the breakthrough there on D-Day possible. His platoon landed on the Easy Red sector, and made it to the seawall largely intact, unlike most in the first wave. Instead of attacking up the beach exits, as was planned, he instead helped find and clear a path up the mined bluffs, left of Exit E-1. Once at the top, his team was the first to attack the enemy fortifications from the rear, clearing out trenches and pillboxes along Exit E-1. Later on D-Day he was involved in actions further inland at Colleville-sur-Mer. For his actions on D-Day, he was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.[1] After the war, he returned there and served in the Kentucky House of Representatives as a Democrat.[2]

References

  • D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, Stephen Ambrose, Simon & Schuster, 1994, ISBN 0-684-80137-X

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