June 29, 2010

James Marion Logan

James Marion Logan, Medal of Honor recipient and first recipient of the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, son of C. M. and Maggie Williams Logan, was born at McNeil near Luling in Caldwell County, Texas, on December 19, 1920. While growing up in rural Texas during the Depression, Logan worked as a laborer for $15.00 a week. In order to supplement his income Logan joined the Texas National Guard in 1936 at the age of fifteen. He enlisted in Company L, Luling Guard, and remained with the unit until he was mustered into Federal service. On November 25, 1940, the Thirty-sixth Infantry was mobilized into the United States Army at Camp Bowie, Texas. Logan served as a rifleman in the 1st Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division (Texas National Guard), Fifth Army. After spending a great deal of time training and running maneuvers in the United States, the Thirty-sixth Infantry set sail for Oran, Algeria, on April 2, 1943. Once in North Africa the Thirty-sixth was held in reserve and then later stationed near Rabat and Casablanca. The Thirty-sixth was then put through training at the Army's Invasion Training Center on the Mediterranean at Arzew, where they were prepared for their first action with the invasion of Salerno, Italy.

On September 9, 1943, Logan, among the first wave of men to land on the beach at Salerno, advanced inland among darkness and enemy fire. After traversing eight hundred yards, he took a position along the bank of a canal. Logan and Company I were besieged by Germans, taking refuge behind a wall two hundred yards ahead where they began a counterattack. "Voluntarily exposing himself to the fire of a machinegun," Logan advanced toward the Germans behind the wall, dodged their fire, and killed three of them as they attempted to escape. After he ran the two hundred yards of open terrain, Logan reached the wall and killed two machine gunners. He then seized their gun and opened fire on the German retreat which resulted in more casualties. In the meantime he managed to capture a German officer and private who were attempting to escape. Later that morning Logan stormed a sniper's den one hundred fifty yards from his company. Once again taking his life in his hands, he reached the house where the sniper was located and shot off the lock to kill the sniper. "Logan's exploits proved a constant inspiration to all the men of his company, and aided materially in insuring the success of the beachhead at Salerno." To award Logan for his gallantry, Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch III presented him with the Medal of Honor on June 6, 1944, near Naples, Italy.

Following his heroic efforts at Salerno, Logan was promoted to sergeant. In late May 1944 Allied Forces were advancing toward Rome, but before they could proceed they had to take the Italian city of Velletri which was the last German stronghold defending Rome. On June 1, 1944, Sergeant Logan captured fifteen Germans and killed twenty-five in an assault on a German unit trying to escape Velletri during the short and chaotic battle. Logan was injured by shrapnel from artillery shells while he carried a wounded soldier to a medical aid station. This effort earned Logan the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest military honor. Although he was nominated for the Medal of Honor for his actions at Velletri, it was United States Army policy not to award two Medals of Honor to one individual. In addition to the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Purple Heart, Logan received two Bronze Stars for bravery, the Rome Avno, Naples Fogio, the Italian Cross of Valor, and several service medals.

After leaving the U.S. Army on March 6, 1945, Logan spent another two months in the Texas National Guard and then left on May 24. He spent the next three decades working for Exxon and retired to Kilgore, Texas. On May 30, 1997, more than three decades after its authorization by the Fifty-eighth Texas Legislature, Technical Sergeant Logan was once again honored for his service in the United States Army and Texas National Guard. Logan was the first recipient of the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor. Logan was honored in a reception in the House chamber of the capitol. The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor was created for those individuals who served in the Texas National Guard and who received the Medal of Honor. That same year Kilgore's National Guard Armory dedicated its new wing to Logan. Logan died on October 9, 1999. On October 14, 1999, James Marion Logan was buried at the Texas State Cemetery. He was survived by a son.

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual conflict on 9 September 1943 in the vicinity of Salerno, Italy. As a rifleman of an infantry company, Sgt. Logan landed with the first wave of the assault echelon on the beaches of the Gulf of Salerno, and after his company had advanced 800 yards inland and taken positions along the forward bank of an irrigation canal, the enemy began a serious counterattack from positions along a rock wall which ran parallel with the canal about 200 yards further inland. Voluntarily exposing himself to the fire of a machinegun located along the rock wall, which sprayed the ground so close to him that he was splattered with dirt and rock splinters from the impact of the bullets, Sgt. Logan killed the first 3 Germans as they came through a gap in the wall. He then attacked the machinegun. As he dashed across the 200 yards of exposed terrain a withering stream of fire followed his advance. Reaching the wall, he crawled along the base, within easy reach of the enemy crouched along the opposite side, until he reached the gun. Jumping up, he shot the 2 gunners down, hurdled the wall, and seized the gun. Swinging it around, he immediately opened fire on the enemy with the remaining ammunition, raking their flight and inflicting further casualties on them as they fled. After smashing the machinegun over the rocks, Sgt. Logan captured an enemy officer and private who were attempting to sneak away. Later in the morning, Sgt. Logan went after a sniper hidden in a house about 150 yards from the company. Again the intrepid Sgt. ran a gauntlet of fire to reach his objective. Shooting the lock off the door, Sgt. Logan kicked it in and shot the sniper who had just reached the bottom of the stairs. The conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity which characterized Sgt. Logan's exploits proved a constant inspiration to all the men of his company, and aided materially in insuring the success of the beachhead at Salerno.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.970, -097° 43.569

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

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