Llewellyn Morris Chilson (April 1, 1920—Oct. 10, 1981) was a highly decorated United States Army Master Sergeant who served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations during World War II. He performed remarkably on several occasions throughout the war. He was recommended twice for the Medal of Honor, the U.S. Army awarded him a dozen combat decorations including three Distinguished Service Crosses for "extraordinary heroism". He was personally decorated by the President of the United States with seven combat decorations after the war. In 1952, he was considered to be the second most decorated American infantryman of World War II.
- 1 Early years
- 2 U.S. Army career
- 3 Post Army retirement and death
- 4 Military decorations & awards
- 5 Ohio Military Hall of Fame
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Lewellyn Chilson was born on April 1, 1920 in Dayton, Ohio. He was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Chilson, his father a World War I veteran. Chilson grew up on the tough streets of South Akron. Chilson left South High School at age 16, taking a truck driving job hauling freight across the country. His older brother, Staff Sergeant Alvin Chilson, was killed in action in the Philippines on February 22, 1944.
U.S. Army career
World War II
Chilson was inducted into the United States Army on March 28, 1942. He reported to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for his basic training. After basic training, he was transferred to Camp Livingston, Louisiana for more training and then to Camp Johnson, Florida for amphibious training with the 112th Infantry Regiment. He was transferred to Fort Pickett, Virginia and the 45th Infantry Division ("Thunderbirds") in May 1942 and became a member of Anti-Tank Company, 2nd Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment.
During the Sicily campaign, Chilson was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (based on award of the CIB) for actions on July 11 to 31, 1943.  In February 1944, the 45th division reinforced the beachhead at Anzio. He was awarded a Purple Heart for being wounded by shrapnel near Carroceto, Italy on February 15, 1944. On February 16, near Aprilia, Italy, he and three other American soldiers were captured by the Germans after running out of ammunition in a firefight and were made litter-bearers for the German forces. The four managed to escape on February 17, taking 4 enemy prisoners with them, which resulted in the capture of 40 more enemy soldiers by Chilson. He was awarded a Silver Star.
On August 15, 1944, he participated in the invasion of Southern France (Operation Dragoon). He was transferred to Company "G", 2nd Battalion, 179th Infantry, and on October 28, he captured a hill taking 25 enemy prisoners. He was awarded his second Silver Star (bronze oak leaf cluster) for actions near Denshein, France on November 26.
He was recommended for the Medal of Honor by his platoon leader for defending an indefensible position near Gumbrechtshoffen, France on November 30. On December 27, he became the platoon sergeant of Second Platoon, Company G.
He was recommended for the Medal of Honor for a series of heroic actions as platoon sergeant during March 26–31, 1945 which included taking over 200 enemy prisoners, and was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross, his third Silver Star (2nd bronze oak leaf cluster), a Legion of Merit, and a Bronze Star Medal (bronze oak leaf cluster) with "V" device. For his actions on April 25, 26, and 27, he was awarded his second and third Distinguished Service Cross (1st & 2nd bronze oak leaf clusters) and his second and third Purple Heart (1st & 2nd bronze oak leaf clusters).
England to United States
He was hospitalized in England and returned to Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana in June 1945. He was honorably discharged from the Army on June 30, 1946.
Post World War II and Army retirement
President Harry Truman personally decorated First Sergeant Chilson with seven combat decorations in the presence of his wife and baby daughter on December 6, 1946. Truman said, "This is the most remarkable list of citations I have ever seen. For any one of these, this young man is entitled to all the Country has to offer. These ought to be worth a Medal of Honor---that's what I think about it." Chilson had in fact been recommended for the Medal of Honor which was approved by General Joseph T. McNarney the commanding general of the U.S. Forces in the European Theater. However, the War Department found Chilson's actions commendable, but not worthy of the Medal of Honor.
Chilson re-enlisted into the U.S. Army on November 17, 1947. He waived his 40% disability and became an Army Recruiter. On May 24, 1961, Chilson was one of only four survivors of a the crash of a USAF Douglas C-124A Globemaster II. He retired from the Army as a Master Sergeant in 1964.
Post Army retirement and death
Military decorations & awards
|Combat Infantryman Badge|
|Expert Badge with Rifle Bar|
|Distinguished Service Cross with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Silver Star with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Legion of Merit|
|Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device and bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Army Commendation Medal|
|Purple Heart with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Presidential Unit Citation|
|Good Conduct Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead device and one silver and three bronze service stars|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Army of Occupation Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal|
|French Croix de Guerre with palm|
|French Liberation Medal|
Ohio Military Hall of Fame
- Ohio Medal of Valor
Chilson was inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame posthumously and awarded the Ohio Medal of Valor on May 5, 2006
- "One-man army: Akron WWII hero collected more medals in one day than any other U.S. soldier". Akron Beacon Journal.
- National Guard Association of the United States (1952). The National Guardsman, Volume 6. p. 130. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Dorr, Robert F. "Duty, Honor, Country Army heroes: Chilson's valor in 1945 earned seven awards". Army Times. Ganett Corporation. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Llewellyn Chilson Awards and Citations". ww2 awards. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Pfc Chilson photo: 20 Feb., 1944: Signal Corps photo National Archives
- "Llewellyn M. Chilson Awards and Citations". Military Times. Gannet Corporation. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Borch, Fred L. Dorr, Robert F. "Llewellyn Chilson: America’s Neglected Warrior". Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- "U.S. Air Force C-124A Globemaster II crashes near McChord Air Force Base on May 24, 1961.". HistoryLink File #8512. HistoryLink.org. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Ohio to induct WWII soldier: Posthumous honor today for Llewellyn M. Chilson. Other local veterans saluted in Columbus ceremony". Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, OH). May 5, 2006. Retrieved September 10, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Ohio Military Hall of Fame  & Ohio Medal of Valor 
- World War II magazine, April 2006. One Man Army: Forgotten Hero Llewellyn Chilson. Above, Beyond, and Forgotten by Fred Borch/Robert Dorr. Pages 26–32.