WWII Medal of Honor recipient Vernon McGarity dies

By JODY CALLAHAN | The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn. | Published: May 24, 2013

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Medal of Honor recipient Vernon McGarity of Bartlett, Tenn. died of cancer Tuesday at age 91.

McGarity was awarded the Medal of Honor, along with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, for his actions in World War II.

According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, McGarity was a Technical Sergeant in the 393d Infantry, 99th Infantry Division, during the war.

McGarity was wounded in an artillery barrage that preceded a German counter-offensive near Krinkelt, Belgium, in December 1944. He received treatment but refused to be evacuated and returned to battle.

During the battle, McGarity rescued two wounded soldiers, immobilized a tank with a round from a rocket launcher, replenished the unit's ammunition under heavy fire and destroyed a German machine gun.

The machine gun had cut off the squad's only escape route, but McGarity managed to destroy it single-handedly under heavy fire and kill or wound all the German gunners, according to his Medal of Honor citation.

The delaying action allowed reserves to assemble and form a line against the Germans.

There are 79 Medal of Honor recipients who are still alive, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Visitation will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Park, 5668 Poplar. Services will begin afterward at 2:30 p.m. Burial with military honors will follow. In lieu of flowers and/or food, the family requests donations be sent to the Ronald McDonald House, 535 Alabama, Memphis, TN, 38105.

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