Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Co. C, 899th Tank
Place and date: Near Scherpenseel, Germany, 20 November
Entered service at: Fort Des Moines, lowa.
Birth: Colfax, lowa.
No.: 77, 10 September 1945.
Citation: He was leading a platoon of destroyers
across an exposed slope near Scherpenseel, Germany, on 20 November 1944,
when they came under heavy enemy artillery fire. A direct hit was scored
on 1 of the vehicles, killing 1 man, seriously wounding 2 others, and setting
the destroyer afire. With a comrade, S/Sgt. Briles left the cover of his
own armor and raced across ground raked by artillery and small-arms fire
to the rescue of the men in the shattered destroyer. Without hesitation,
he lowered himself into the burning turret, removed the wounded and then
extinguished the fire. From a position he assumed the next morning, he
observed hostile infantrymen advancing. With his machinegun, he poured
such deadly fire into the enemy ranks that an entire pocket of 55 Germans
surrendered, clearing the way for a junction between American units which
had been held up for 2 days. Later that day, when another of his destroyers
was hit by a concealed enemy tank, he again left protection to give assistance.
With the help of another soldier, he evacuated two wounded under heavy
fire and, returning to the burning vehicle, braved death from exploding
ammunition to put out the flames. By his heroic initiative and complete
disregard for personal safety, S/Sgt. Briles was largely responsible for
causing heavy enemy casualties, forcing the surrender of 55 Germans, making
possible the salvage of our vehicles, and saving the lives of wounded comrades.
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)