Setting the Example

Lieutenant Paul F. Loes of Cascade, Iowa was leading the 2d Platoon of Company C up a hill under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire on 4 November 1944 when a well-concealed German machinegun suddenly opened fire, pinning down the entire platoon. Despite a lack of cover, Loes crawled to within 10 yards of the emplacement and sprayed it with his carbine, killing the four-man crew and forcing several nearby Germans to surrender. The Platoon moved on to seize its objective.

His men remembered his 6'4" frame that "looked like Superman" as he was charging forward. They also remembered how he, "looked out for us first," and how, "he'd always go out to have a look before he'd send his men forward."

Most of all, the soldiers of Company C remember the day he was grievously wounded in a German minefield. "He wouldn't allow the medics to come near him until the engineers brought up the mine detectors and cleared a path for them," according to the company commander, Captain Ronan Campion of Albany, New York. According to Captain Campion, Lieutenant Loes applied first aid to the remaining stump of his leg, then fell over from loss of blood, only to detonate another mine that blew off a piece of his arm. Nevertheless, after the medics reached him, he was sufficiently lucid to berate his rescuers for taking unnecessary chances.

Lieutenant Loes was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his gallantry.

--From the Century Sentinel, 17 March 1945, and Story of the Century, 49.