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Beauford T. Anderson: Medal of Honor Recipient

      At the time of his enlistment, Beauford T. "Andy" Anderson was a lifelong Wisconsin resident. 

      He was born July 6, 1922 in Eagle River, Wis.  He joined the Army in 1942 at Soldiers Grove, Wis.

      Anderson was a staff sergeant (later a technical sergeant) with the 381st Infantry, 96th Infantry Division, with the U.S. Army forces on Okinawa when he performed deeds of valor that resulted in his Medal of Honor. The date was April 13, 1945.

      The commendation for his Medal of Honor reads: 

      "When a powerfully conducted predawn Japanese counterattack struck his unit's flank, he ordered his men to take cover in an old tomb, and then, armed only with a carbine, faced the onslaught alone.  After emptying one magazine at point-blank range into the screaming attackers, he seized an enemy mortar dud and threw it back among the charging Japanese, killing several as it burst.  Securing a box of mortar shells, he extracted the safety pins, banged the bases upon a rock to arm them, and proceeded alternatively to hurl shells and fire his piece among the fanatical foe, finally forcing them to withdraw. 

      "Despite the protests of his comrades, and bleeding profusely from a severe shrapnel wound, he made his way to his company commander to report the action.  T/Sgt. Anderson's intrepid conduct in the face of overwhelming odds accounted for 25 enemy killed and several machine guns and knee mortars destroyed, thus single-handedly removing a serious threat to the company's flank."

   This action was part of the battle for Kakazu Ridge, one of the bloodier battles of the Okinawa campaign.  It was during the bitter weeks, early in the campaign, when little advance was made and casualties were very high. 

      At the time of the April 13 action by T/Sgt Anderson, the soldiers of the 96th Division had just endured three days of Japanese counteroffensive, at times so intense that mortar rounds were arriving at the rate of one to two per second.  This Japanese offensive culminated in the counterattacks that T/Sgt. Anderson helped to stop.  At least some of the American soldiers in the cave (or tomb) were badly wounded, and would have been easy prey if Anderson had failed in his courageous defense.

      On Memorial Day of 1946, Anderson received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman.  The ceremony was on the White House grounds, and Anderson was in the company of four other Medal of Honor recipients.

      Anderson was the first member of his regiment to receive the Medal of Honor.  He was one of two members of the 96th Infantry Division to receive the Medal of Honor as a result of the fighting for Kakazu on Okinawa.

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