Medal of Honor Recipient Vernon McGarity Passes Away at 91

Earned Nation's Highest Award for Valor during World War II

May 21, 2013, 16:00 ET from Congressional Medal of Honor Society

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C., May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announces that Technical Sergeant Vernon McGarity, Medal of Honor recipient, passed away Tuesday, May 21, 2013 in Bartlett, Tennessee at the age of 91.

Vernon was born in Right Tennessee on December 21, 1921.  He attended Morris Chapel Grammar School and Morris Chapel High School in Morris Chapel, Tennessee.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman at a White House ceremony on October 12, 1945. 

Serving as a squad leader, Vernon was painfully wounded in an artillery barrage that preceded the powerful counteroffensive launched by the Germans near Krinkelt, Belgium, on the morning of 16 December 1944. He made his way to an aid station, received treatment, and then refused to be evacuated, choosing to return to his hard-pressed men instead.

During the day the heroic squad leader rescued 1 of his friends who had been wounded in a forward position, and throughout the night he exhorted his comrades to repulse the enemy's attempts at infiltration. When morning came and the Germans attacked with tanks and infantry, he braved heavy fire to run to an advantageous position where he immobilized the enemy's lead tank with a round from a rocket launcher. Fire from his squad drove the attacking infantrymen back, and 3 supporting tanks withdrew. He rescued, under heavy fire, another wounded American, and then directed devastating fire on a light cannon which had been brought up by the hostile troops to clear resistance from the area.

Funeral services are pending. There are 79 recipients alive today.

About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by Congress in 1958 and consists exclusively of the living recipients of our nation's highest award for bravery in combat, the Medal of Honor. Those who wear this light blue ribbon and Medal around their neck are "recipients" of this prestigious award; they are not "winners." Although it is common to refer to the Medal as the Congressional Medal of Honor, it is simply named the Medal of Honor, although, as stated, the Congress did establish the Society as the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Contact: Victoria Kueck

SOURCE Congressional Medal of Honor Society