Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, 101st Airborne
Place and date: Near Carentan, France, 11 June 1944.
Entered service at:
San Antonio, Tex.
Birth: Fort Sam Houston, Tex.
G.O. No.: 79,
4 October 1944.
Citation: For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of
his own life, above and beyond the call of duty on 11 June 1944, in France.
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
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)