SSG JESSE R. DROWLEY
Co. B, 132nd Infantry
Americal Infantry Division
Bougainville, Solomon Islands
30 January 1944
SSG Drowley was serving as squad leader with orders to hold the perimeter and act as a reserve force for the attack if the need arose. He saw 3 members of the assault company fall badly wounded.
Intense hostile fire prevented medics from reaching the casualties. SSG Drowley fearlessly dashed across the field under heavy fire dragging two of the wounded to cover. After rescuing the first two men, SSG Drowley spotted the enemy pillbox cutting his men down. Somehow undetected by assaulting tanks, it was inflicting heavy casualties Drowley’s company.
The mission was at a standstill so long as that pill-box was manned.
Drowley sent a medic to rescue the third casualty while he provided covering fire. Then he sprinted across the open terrain to an American tank. Signaling to the crew, he climbed on top, swapped his rifle for a submachine gun and voluntarily rode the deck providing covering fire for pinned down Americans as he directed the tank into position to attack the enemy pillbox.
Drowley guided the tank to withing 20 meters of the enemy position where he was wounded in the lung. Refusing to return for medical treatment, Drowley remained on the tank deck directing it into position and the gun crew established the target location. Wounded a second time by small arms fire to the face, ripping his eye from the socket.
Falling to the ground Drowley remained alongside the tank until the pillbox had been completely demolished and another directly behind the first destroyed.
Only after both pillboxes were destroyed and his men able to move forward did the young soldier allow himself to be moved to the rear for medical treatment.
SSG Jesse Drowley Passed on May 20, 1996. He was 76. He is buried at Fairmount Memorial Park in Spokane.