Badass Report: Staff Sgt Rudolph Davila

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Staff Sergeant Rudolph B. Davila demonstrated his “badassness” through extraordinary heroism in action.

May 1944, Artena, Italy, WWII – During the pitched battle to break through the German mountain strongholds surrounding the Anzio beachhead, Staff Sergeant Davila saw that his beleaguered rifle company was in need of encouragement and leadership – so he took charge like a badass. They were caught on an exposed hillside wheat field by heavy fire from well-entrenched Nazi forces, and Davila’s machine gunners were staying flat, reluctant to expose themselves and put their guns into action.

So Sgt Davila crawls fifty yards through fire across the open hill to the nearest machine gun, takes over, and sets it up alone and begins returning fire on the enemy. Knowing his fire will be ineffective if he can’t see, he stays upright, firing from the kneeling position while enemy bullets hit all around him and ping off his tripod.

Turning over the gun to one of his men, he then crawls forward to direct the fire better from a vantage point and using hand signals to direct his men’s guns, they finally silence the forward German placement. Using the lull he brings his three remaining machine guns into action, turning them on the main enemy position two hundred yards back.

As the heat of battle renewed, Sgt Davila is painfully wounded in the leg, but limps and runs to a burned out tank and begins returning fire from the turret machine gun while a hail of German bullets smack into the tank around him. He then limps and advances forward 130 more yards in short rushes, through machinegun fire, and crawls the last 20 yards in order to charge into the 2-story house the Nazi were firing from. With his gun and grenades he single-handedly (while wounded) dispatches the force of 5 Germans.

Climbing to the attic, he positions himself in a large shell hole in the wall and continues to lay fire on the enemy, destroying two more German machine gun posts, while the house walls crumble around him.

His level of badass courage brought desperately needed support to a hard-pressed rifle company, destroying many of the enemy men, forcing the enemy to abandon their prepared positions and retreat. The US Army granted Sgt Davila the Distinguished Service Cross, which was later changed to the Medal of Honor after review.

Later in the war Sgt Davila was hit in the chest by a tank round while fighting in France! But like the badass he was, he survived, recuperated, and married the nurse from the hospital that patched him up, and lived until 2002.

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