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Cole Robert George

Robert George  Cole
Lieutenant Colonel
Serial Number:
502nd Parachute infantry Regiment
Date of Death:
Netherlands American Cemetery, Netherlands
Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, French Croix de Guerre with Palm

Born 19 March 1915 in San Antonio, Texas, to Clarence F. Cole and Clara H. Cole. West Point Class of 1939. Married to Allie M. (Wilson) Cole. Originally posted to Fort Lewis, Washington with the 15th Infantry. Volunteered for Airborne duty so was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia and assigned to the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment in 1941. Commanded the 3rd Battalion, 502nd PIR during the D-day invasion when he jumped into Normandy. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading his battalion in a bayonet charge on 11 June 1944 when they were hopelessly pinned down near Carentan, France. Killed in action by an enemy sniper while directing P-47 air support near Best in the Netherlands on 18 September 1944.

His citation reads "Lt. Col. Cole was personally leading his battalion in forcing the last 4 bridges on the road to Carentan when his entire unit was suddenly pinned to the ground by intense and withering enemy rifle, machinegun, mortar, and artillery fire placed upon them from well-prepared and heavily fortified positions within 150 yards of the foremost elements. After the devastating and unceasing enemy fire had for over 1 hour prevented any move and inflicted numerous casualties, Lt. Col. Cole, observing this almost hopeless situation, courageously issued orders to assault the enemy positions with fixed bayonets. With utter disregard for his own safety and completely ignoring the enemy fire, he rose to his feet in front of his battalion and with drawn pistol shouted to his men to follow him in the assault. Catching up a fallen man's rifle and bayonet, he charged on and led the remnants of his battalion across the bullet-swept open ground and into the enemy position. His heroic and valiant action in so inspiring his men resulted in the complete establishment of our bridgehead across the Douve River. The cool fearlessness, personal bravery, and outstanding leadership displayed by Lt. Col. Cole reflect great credit upon himself and are worthy of the highest praise in the military service."