Charles W. Shea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Charles W. Shea
Born (1921-08-24)August 24, 1921
New York City, New York
Died April 7, 1994(1994-04-07) (aged 72)
Plainview, New York
Place of burial Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1942 - 1945, 1949 - 1972
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Unit 2nd Battalion, 350th Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor

Charles William Shea [1] (August 24, 1921 – April 7, 1994) was a United States Army officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.


Shea joined the Army from his birthplace of New York City in July 1942,[2] and by May 12, 1944 was serving as a second lieutenant in Company F, 350th Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division. On that day, near Mount Damiano, Italy, he single-handedly disabled three German machine gun nests. He was awarded the Medal of Honor eight months later, on January 12, 1945.

After the war, Shea joined the New York National Guard in 1949, and retired with the rank colonel in 1972. He died in Plainview, New York at age 72 and was buried in Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York.[3]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Shea's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, on May 12, 1944, near Mount Damiano, Italy. As 2d Lt. Shea and his company were advancing toward a hill occupied by the enemy, 3 enemy machineguns suddenly opened fire, inflicting heavy casualties upon the company and halting its advance. 2d Lt. Shea immediately moved forward to eliminate these machinegun nests in order to enable his company to continue its attack. The deadly hail of machinegun fire at first pinned him down, but, boldly continuing his advance, 2d Lt. Shea crept up to the first nest. Throwing several hand grenades, he forced the 4 enemy soldiers manning this position to surrender, and disarming them, he sent them to the rear. He then crawled to the second machinegun position, and after a short fire fight forced 2 more German soldiers to surrender. At this time, the third machinegun fired at him, and while deadly small arms fire pitted the earth around him, 2d Lt. Shea crawled toward the nest. Suddenly he stood up and rushed the emplacement and with well-directed fire from his rifle, he killed all 3 of the enemy machine gunners. 2d Lt. Shea's display of personal valor was an inspiration to the officers and men of his company.

See also[edit]