John M. Spalding
|John M. Spalding|
|Born||17 December 1914|
|Died||1959 (aged 45)|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Unit||1st Infantry Division|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross|
|Other work||Kentucky state politician|
Spalding was a native of Owensboro, Kentucky. He is famous as one of the first officers (a lieutenant at the time for E Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry) to make it up to the top of bloody Omaha Beach and clear out German defenses from behind. He and his men, including his sergeant, Philip Streczyk, helped make the breakthrough there on D-Day possible. His platoon landed on the Easy Red sector, and made it to the seawall largely intact, unlike most in the first wave. Instead of attacking up the beach exits, as was planned, he instead helped find and clear a path up the mined bluffs, left of Exit E-1. Once at the top, his team was the first to attack the enemy fortifications from the rear, clearing out trenches and pillboxes along Exit E-1. Later on D-Day he was involved in actions further inland at Colleville-sur-Mer.
For his actions on D-Day, he was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
After the war, he returned there and served two terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives. He died in 1959.
- D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, Stephen Ambrose, Simon & Schuster, 1994, ISBN 0-684-80137-X
- Cross-Channel Attack a publication of the United States Army Center of Military History
- Omaha Beachhead a publication of the United States Army Center of Military History
- Spalding's Interview from warchronicle.com
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