Tech. Sergeant, PETER J DALESSONDRO
Company E, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division.
22 December 1944.
Dalessondro’s platoon was holding an important road junction on high ground near Kalterherberg, Germany, on 22 December 1944. In the early morning hours, the enemy began with a mortar barrage then followed through with an all-out attack that threatened to overwhelm the position.
T/Sgt. Dalessondro, seeing that his men were becoming disorganized, braved the intense fire to move among them with words of encouragement. Advancing to a fully exposed observation post, he adjusted mortar fire upon the attackers, meanwhile firing upon them with his rifle and encouraging his men in halting and repulsing the attack.
Later in the day, the enemy launched a second determined attack. Once again, T/Sgt. Dalessondro, in the face of imminent death, rushed to his forward position and immediately called for mortar fire. After exhausting his rifle ammunition, he crawled 30 yards over exposed ground to secure a light machinegun, returned to his position, and fired upon the enemy at almost point-blank range until the gun jammed.
He managed to get the gun to fire one more burst, which used up his last round, but with these bullets, he killed 4 German soldiers who were on the verge of murdering an aid man and 2 wounded soldiers in a nearby foxhole. When the enemy had almost surrounded him, he remained alone, steadfastly facing almost certain death or capture, hurling grenades and calling for mortar fire closer and closer to his outpost as he covered the withdrawal of his platoon to a second line of defense.
As the German hordes swarmed about him, he was last heard calling for a barrage, saying, “OK, mortars, let me have it–right in this position!” He was killed instantly. The gallantry and intrepidity shown by T/Sgt. Dalessondro against an overwhelming enemy attack saved his company from complete rout.