WWII War Hero:
CPL James D. Slaton 45th Infantry Div. from Gulfport, Mississippi received the Medal of Honor for laying a metric ton of hate on the enemy in the vicinity of Oliveto, Italy, on Sept. 23, 1943. He was leading an infantry squad on a mission to flank the enemy and make them sorry for pinning down two platoons of his fellow Americans. He was so charged up that he moved ahead of his element and crept up to an enemy machine gun nest and took his bayonet to the gunner. Suffice it to say, the gunner didn’t make it out alive.
Unfortunately, Slaton’s bayonet was “stuck,” so he detached it from his rifle and killed another nearby gunner. The fascists were onto him now, and a machine gun opened up on him. No cover? No problem. Slaton moved over the open ground under constant enemy fire until he was within throwing distance and tossed a couple of grenades, which killed another two enemy gunners.
Yet another machine gun opened up on him 100 yards to his front. Slaton was probably and understandably winded at this point, so he eliminated the threat with a couple of well-placed shots from his rifle. Long story short: the two platoons that had been pinned down were able to maneuver out.
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Corporal James Daniel Slaton, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company K, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, in action with the enemy in the vicinity of Oliveto, Italy, on 23 September 1943. Corporal Slaton was lead scout of an infantry squad which had been committed to a flank to knock out enemy resistance which had succeeded in pinning two attacking platoons to the ground. Working ahead of his squad, Corporal Slaton crept upon an enemy machinegun nest and, assaulting it with his bayonet, succeeded in killing the gunner. When his bayonet stuck, he detached it from the rifle and killed another gunner with rifle fire. At that time he was fired upon by a machinegun to his immediate left. Corporal Slaton then moved over open ground under constant fire to within throwing distance, and on his second try scored a direct hit on the second enemy machinegun nest, killing two enemy gunners. At that time a third machinegun fired on him 100 yards to his front, and Corporal Slaton killed both of these enemy gunners with rifle fire. As a result of Corporal Slaton’s heroic action in immobilizing three enemy machinegun nests with bayonet, grenade, and rifle fire, the two rifle platoons which were receiving heavy casualties from enemy fire were enabled to withdraw to covered positions and again take the initiative. Corporal Slaton withdrew under mortar fire on order of his platoon leader at dusk that evening. The heroic actions of Corporal Slaton were far above and beyond the call of duty and are worthy of emulation.
The Giant Killer book and page honors these unique war heroes making sure their stories of valor and sacrifice are never forgotten. God Bless our Vets!🇺🇸
Story source by Marty Skovlund Jr. & Wall of Valor project. Photo restored by TGK