This is Melvin E. Bittle of B/517th Parachute Infantry Regt.
Melvin was the featured guest of The Third Armored Division
Assn. Reunion in Indianapolis, IN in September 2000. He
made a short speech saying he was glad to be here and he
accepted the invitation because he was attached to our
Division and was fighting with us for which he was awarded
The Medal of Honor for action in December, 1944.
I chatted with Melvin twice. I had met and took some video
of returning vets of the 517th in Belgium in 1989 and had
a recording from an Officer in his outfit named Lt. Gibbons.
I asked to take his picture, saying; I know your story.
It had been an honor to meet and talk with the recipient
of our Nations highest award.
MEDAL OF HONOR
BIDDLE, MELVIN E
Rank and organization:
Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Place and date:
Near Soy, Belgium, 23-24 December 1944.
Entered service at:
G.O. No. 95, 30 October 1945.
He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy near Soy, Belgium, on 23 and 24 December 1944. Serving as lead scout during an attack to relieve the enemy-encircled town of Hotton, he aggressively penetrated a densely wooded area, advanced 400 yards until he came within range of intense enemy rifle fire, and within 20 yards of enemy positions killed 3 snipers with unerring marksmanship. Courageously continuing his advance an additional 200 yards, he discovered a hostile machine gun position and dispatched its 2 occupants. He then located the approximate position of a well-concealed enemy machinegun nest, and crawling forward threw handgrenades which killed two Germans and fatally wounded a third. After signaling his company to advance, he entered a determined line of enemy defense, coolly and deliberately shifted his position, and shot 3 more enemy soldiers. Undaunted by enemy fire, he crawled within 20 yards of a machine gun nest, tossed his last handgrenade into the position, and after the explosion charged the emplacement firing his rifle. When night fell, he scouted enemy positions alone for several hours and returned with valuable information which enabled our attacking infantry and armor to knock out 2 enemy tanks. At daybreak he again led the advance and, when flanking elements were pinned down by enemy fire, without hesitation made his way toward a hostile machine gun position and from a distance of 50 yards killed the crew and 2 supporting riflemen. The remainder of the enemy, finding themselves without automatic weapon support, fled panic stricken. Pfc. Biddle's intrepid courage and superb daring during his 20-hour action enabled his battalion to break the enemy grasp on Hotton with a minimum of casualties.
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