Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, 1st Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Vaubadon, France, 10 June 1944.
Entered service at:
Birth: Saugus, Mass.
G.O. No.: 1, 4 January 1945.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above
and beyond the call of duty, on 10 June 1944, near Vaubadon, France. As
scouts were advancing across an open field, the enemy suddenly opened fire
with several machineguns and hit 1 of the men. S/Sgt. DeFranzo courageously
moved out in the open to the aid of the wounded scout and was himself wounded
but brought the man to safety. Refusing aid, S/Sgt. DeFranzo reentered
the open field and led the advance upon the enemy. There were always at
least 2 machineguns bringing unrelenting fire upon him, but S/Sgt. DeFranzo
kept going forward, firing into the enemy and 1 by 1 the enemy emplacements
became silent. While advancing he was again wounded, but continued on until
he was within 100 yards of the enemy position and even as he fell, he kept
firing his rifle and waving his men forward. When his company came up behind
him, S/Sgt. DeFranzo, despite his many severe wounds, suddenly raised himself
and once more moved forward in the lead of his men until he was again hit
by enemy fire. In a final gesture of indomitable courage, he threw several
grenades at the enemy machinegun position and completely destroyed the
gun. In this action, S/Sgt. DeFranzo lost his life, but by bearing the
brunt of the enemy fire in leading the attack, he prevented a delay in
the assault which would have been of considerable benefit to the foe, and
he made possible his company's advance with a minimum of casualties. The
extraordinary heroism and magnificent devotion to duty displayed by S/Sgt.
DeFranzo was a great inspiration to all about him, and is in keeping with
the highest traditions of the armed forces.
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)