Badass Report: Sgt Roy W. Harmon

On this day, July 12, 1944, in Italy during WWII, Sgt Harmon showed his badass bravery as acting squad leader to his men.


Heavy machinegun fire from enemy positions, well dug in on high ground and hidden by haystacks, had stopped his company’s advance and pinned them down exposed to almost certain annihilation. Ordered to rescue the most beleaguered platoon by neutralizing the German automatic fire, he led his squad forward along a draw to the right of the trapped unit against 3 key positions which poured murderous fire into his helpless comrades. When within range, first his squad fired tracer bullets to set fire to the haystacks, but this failed. So Sgt. Harmon ordered his squad to hold their position and alone and voluntarily he began a 1-man assault.

Carrying white phosphorus grenades and a submachine gun, he skillfully took crept to within 25 yards of the first position and set the haystack afire with a grenade, killing the enemy when they attempted to flee from the inferno. Crawling toward the second machinegun emplacement, he shot and wounded, but he continued to advance and destroyed the position with hand grenades, killing all enemy occupants. He then attacked the third machinegun, crawling over ground which offered no concealment. About halfway to his objective, he was again wounded, but he struggled ahead until close enough to the third machinegun, where he raised himself to his knees to throw a grenade. He was shot and knocked down by direct enemy fire, but with magnificent effort, he rose and hurled the grenade with his last dying move and fell dead, riddled by bullets. His grenade found its mark and destroyed the last machinegun nest.

Sgt. Harmon’s extraordinary badass heroism and self-sacrifice saved a whole platoon from being wiped out, and he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was buried in Italy.

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