Rank and organization:
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army,
Company F, 143d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division.
Place and date:
Near San Angelo, Italy, 22 January 1944.
Entered service at:
Veedersburg, Ind. Birth: Burton, Kans.
31, 17 April 1945.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of
duty. On 22 January 1944, Company F had the mission of crossing the Rapido River in the
vicinity of San Angelo, Italy, and attacking the well-prepared German positions to the
west. For the defense of these positions the enemy had prepared a network of machinegun
positions covering the terrain to the front with a pattern of withering machinegun fire,
and mortar and artillery positions zeroed in on the defilade areas. S/Sgt. McCall
commanded a machinegun section that was to provide added fire support for the riflemen.
Under cover of darkness, Company F advanced to the river crossing site and under intense
enemy mortar, artillery, and machinegun fire crossed an ice-covered bridge which was
continually the target for enemy fire. Many casualties occurred on reaching the west side
of the river and reorganization was imperative. Exposing himself to the deadly enemy
machinegun and small-arms fire that swept over the flat terrain, S/Sgt. McCall, with
unusual calmness, encouraged and welded his men into an effective fighting unit. He then
led them forward across the muddy, exposed terrain. Skillfully he guided his men through a
barbed-wire entanglement to reach a road where he personally placed the weapons of his two
squads into positions of vantage, covering the battalion's front. A shell landed near one
of the positions, wounding the gunner, killing the assistant gunner, and destroying the
weapon. Even though enemy shells were falling dangerously near, S/Sgt. McCall crawled
across the treacherous terrain and rendered first aid to the wounded man, dragging him
into a position of cover with the help of another man. The gunners of the second
machinegun had been wounded from the fragments of an enemy shell, leaving S/Sgt. McCall
the only remaining member of his machinegun section. Displaying outstanding
aggressiveness, he ran forward with the weapon on his hip, reaching a point 30 yards from
the enemy, where he fired 2 bursts of fire into the nest, killing or wounding all of the
crew and putting the gun out of action. A second machinegun now opened fire upon him and
he rushed its position, firing his weapon from the hip, killing 4 of the
guncrew. A third
machinegun, 50 yards in rear of the first two, was delivering a tremendous volume of fire
upon our troops. S/Sgt. McCall spotted its position and valiantly went toward it in the
face of overwhelming enemy fire. He was last seen courageously moving forward on the enemy
position, firing his machinegun from his hip. S/Sgt. McCall's intrepidity and unhesitating
willingness to sacrifice his life exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.