Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 34th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Cisterna, Italy, 23 May 1944.
Entered service at:
Birth: Richmond, Va.
G.O. No.: 3, 8 January 1945.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond
the call of duty on 23 May 1944, in the vicinity of Cisterna, Italy. 2d
Lt. Dervishian (then Tech. Sgt.) and 4 members of his platoon found themselves
far ahead of their company after an aggressive advance in the face of enemy
artillery and sniper fire. Approaching a railroad embankment, they observed
a force of German soldiers hiding in dugouts. 2d Lt. Dervishian, directing
his men to cover him, boldly moved forward and firing his carbine forced
10 Germans to surrender. His men then advanced and captured 15 more Germans
occupying adjacent dugouts. The prisoners were returned to the rear to
be picked up by advancing units. From the railroad embankment, 2d Lt. Dervishian
and his men then observed 9 Germans who were fleeing across a ridge. He
and his men opened fire and 3 of the enemy were wounded. As his men were
firing, 2d Lt. Dervishian, unnoticed, fearlessly dashed forward alone and
captured all of the fleeing enemy before his companions joined him on the
ridge. At this point 4 other men joined 2d Lt. Dervishian's group. An attempt
was made to send the 4 newly arrived men along the left flank of a large,
dense vineyard that lay ahead, but murderous machinegun fire forced them
back. Deploying his men, 2d Lt. Dervishian moved to the front of his group
and led the advance into the vineyard. He and his men suddenly became pinned
down by a machinegun firing at them at a distance of 15 yards. Feigning
death while the hostile weapon blazed away at him, 2d Lt. Dervishian assaulted
the position during a halt in the firing, using a hand grenade and carbine
fire, and forced the 4 German crewmembers to surrender. The 4 men on the
left flank were now ordered to enter the vineyard but encountered machinegun
fire which killed 1 soldier and wounded another. At this moment the enemy
intensified the fight by throwing potato-masher grenades at the valiant
band of American soldiers within the vineyard. 2d Lt. Dervishian ordered
his men to withdraw; but instead of following, jumped into the machinegun
position he had just captured and opened fire with the enemy weapon in
the direction of the second hostile machinegun nest. Observing movement
in a dugout 2 or 3 yards to the rear, 2d Lt. Dervishian seized a machine
pistol. Simultaneously blazing away at the entrance to the dugout to prevent
its occupants from firing and firing his machinegun at the other German
nest, he forced 5 Germans in each position to surrender. Determined to
rid the area of all Germans, 2d Lt. Dervishian continued his advance alone.
Noticing another machinegun position beside a house, he picked up an abandoned
machine pistol and forced 6 more Germans to surrender by spraying their
position with fire. Unable to locate additional targets in the vicinity,
2d Lt. Dervishian conducted these prisoners to the rear. The prodigious
courage and combat skill exhibited by 2d Lt. Dervishian are exemplary of
the finest traditions of the U.S. 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)