CPL PAUL B. HUFF
509th Parachute Infantry Battalion.
101st Airborne Div
Attached to British 1st Airborne Rgt.
Near Carano, Italy
8 February 1944
Cpl. Huff volunteered to lead a 6-man reconnaissance patrol to determine the location and strength of the enemy position that was pummeling the exposed right flank of his company.
Their movement was over mostly exposed rolling terrain with no cover and less concealment. As the patrol advanced they were engaged by small arms, heavy machinegun fire, and concentrated mortar fire.
Huff struck out ahead of his patrol to draw enemy fire and reveal their positions. When the enemy opened up with a 20mm cannon that had up until then been concealed, Huff ordered his patrol to halt while he alone advanced, under deadly fire, through a minefield to a position within 75 yards of the enemy position.
Under direct fire from the machinegun, Huff crawled the remaining 75 yards to the closest emplacement, where he killed the crew and destroyed the gun. During attack, Huff was able to get a good look at the enemy positions gaining the intelligence his squad was sent to discover.
Still under heavy enemy fire, he returned to his patrol and led his men to safety.
As a result of the information he gained, Huff was able to lead a second patrol engaging the enemy positions. Under Cpl Huff’s leadership, the patrol succeeded in routing the enemy positions manned by over 120 enemy soldiers, killing 27 Germans and capturing 21 others. Huff lost 3 of his men.
Cpl Huff’s leadership and valor turned the tide of the battle and delivered victory to his unit. with a loss of only 3 patrol members. Cpl. Huff’s leadership and combat skill reflect the finest traditions of the American infantryman.
Although Huff remained in the Army serving in both Korea and Viet Nam going on to become Command Sergeant Major in the 101st Airborne. CSM Huff is one of very few MOH recipients who do not wear a purple heart, Huff was never wounded.
CSM Paul B. Huff passed peacefully on Sept 21, 1994, he was 76.
An interesting caveat about the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, is that they were attached to the British 1st Airborne for the invasion.
The “Red Devils” as they were called because they wore Maroon Berets. The British Paratroopers were so impressed with the skills and valor of their American Brothers that they asked them to also wear the coveted Maroon Berets.
Now you know why those of us with Jump Wings proudly wear the Maroon Beret, a gift from our British brethren.