Rank and organization:   Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 34th Infantry Division
Place and date:   Near Cassino, Italy, 3-8 February 1944.
Entered service at:
Kansas City, Mo.
Birth:   Charles City, lowa.
G.O. No.. 74, 11 September
Citation:   For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond
the call of duty. In the attack on the approaches to the city of Cassino
on 3 February 1944, 2d Lt. Riordan led 1 of the assault platoons. Attacking
Hill 175, his command was pinned down by enemy machinegun fire from the
hill and from a pillbox about 45 yards to the right of the hill. In the
face of intense fire, 2d Lt. Riordan moved out in full view of the enemy
gunners to reach a position from where he could throw a handgrenade into
the pillbox. Then, getting to his knees, he hurled the grenade approximately
45 yards, scoring a direct hit. The grenade killed 1 and wounded the other
2 Germans in the nest and silenced the gun. Another soldier then cleaned
out the enemy pillboxes on the hill itself, and the company took its objective.
Continuing the assault into Cassino itself on 8 February 1944, 2d Lt. Riordan
and his platoon were given the mission of taking the city jail house, one
of the enemy's several strongpoints. Again 2d Lt. Riordan took the lead
and managed to get through the ring of enemy fire covering the approaches
and reached the building. His platoon, however, could not get through the
intense fire and was cut off. 2d Lt. Riordan, aware that his men were unable
to follow, determined to carry on single-handed, but the numerically superior
enemy force was too much for him to overcome, and he was killed by enemy
small-arms fire after disposing of at least 2 of the defenders. 2d Lt.
Riordan's bravery and extraordinary heroism in the face of almost certain
death were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest 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)