FRENCH GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZES
589th FA BATTALION
CROIX de Guerre with
Silver gilt Star


click on image for enlarged view

This award was published in Department of the Army, General Orders 24, par II-3k 10 December 1947.  This order states:

       "This remarkable battalion whose brilliant conduct was greatly valued during the battle of Saint Vith and Manhay on 16 to 23 December 1944.  Attacked by an enemy operating in force but filled with the desire to conquer, at any cost, it remained in position and with direct and accurate fire, kept the attackers from access to vital communications south of Manhay.  Short of food, water, and pharmaceutical supplies, the 589th Field Artillery Battalion endured three attacks without flinching, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy and forced him to retire."

       This translation of the French Citation is included in the official history of the 106th Infantry Division, and is certified correct by Randolph C. Pierson, T/4, Headquarters Battery, 589th FA Bn, who was present during the entire battle for "Parker's Crossroads" at Baraque de Fraiture, Belgium

It was never formerly presented. The division deactivated in October 1945 and everybody split. The first that I heard about it was when the citation appeared in Lion in the Way. Then sometime around year 1992 I found out from John Gatens that an organization existed in New York City, known as "The American Order of the French Croix de Guerre".  

I corresponded with them and found out that they could obtain medals, awarded by France and Belgium, recognizing service during WW II. Most of them were commemorative type, but they could also obtain the Croix de Guerre diploma and medal for anyone who qualified. There was a cost of course but I thought it worthwhile to have it just to give to my kids and grandkids.

Iím sure that there are 589th vets that never knew about it if they havenít kept in touch. The ďOrderĒ went out of existence in year 2000. The feeling was that they had heard from everybody that they were going to and, after all, the chance that France would ever make the award again was slim to none. Iím glad that I was in on the action.

John Schaffner

Translation contributed by Randy Pierson
Images contributed by John Schaffner
Page last revised 09/10/2016
James D. West
www.IndianaMilitary.org

jimdwest@centurylink.net