80th Infantry Division Chaplain Receives DSC From Army Times

Rescues Under Fire Win DSC for Padre

–Army Times—Dec 30. 1944—

With the 80th Infantry Division in France—Father Benedict A. Henderson, of the 80th Infantry Division’s crack 319th Infantry Regiment now wears America’s second highest military decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross, but to those who know him, his Chaplain’s Cross stands for distinguished services far exceeding those covered by a mere citation.

80th infantry division

Insignia of the 80th Infantry Division

On Sept. 6 the 3rd Battalion of the 319th Infantry, to which the Oakland, Calif., Chaplain was assigned, was attacking the heavily fortified Fort Villey Le Sec near Toul, France.

Heavy casualties were suffered and the overworked medical personnel were unable to evacuate all the wounded immediately. The Chaplain, hearing the cries of the wounded, crawled unhesitatingly through the cratered and mined battlefield and under heavy fire made his perilous pilgrimage to the torn, twisted wreckage of a disabled tank, from which he extricated a wounded soldier, carrying him 200 fire-swept yards to the rear and safety.

He again went forward under fire and encountered a hard-pressed litter squad working desperately over two wounded men, the most seriously wounded of which was evacuated. Realizing that prompt medical attention would save the other boy, Father Henderson gently lifted him onto his back and once again started the dangerous trip to the rear. Machine guns kicked up puffs of dust around him, sniper bullets whined their deadly warning, but crawling on his hands and knees, fearless Father Henderson saved a second life that day.

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