SSG ROBERT H DIETZ
Co A, 38th Bn, 7th AD
29 March 1945.
While serving as squad leader during the advance on Kirchain, Germany. Dietz and his men were faced with German rocket-launching teams, riflemen and the high probability the bridges were set to be blown at the first sight of a US tank crossing. The remaining 300 yards to the town included a minefield and pair of heavily defended bridges
Dietz led his men forward to protect engineers while they cleared demolition charges attached to the bridges.
Dietz advanced alone, in spite of fire from the outlying buildings and snipers he was able to eliminate a bazooka team defending the first bridge. Not satisfied with just one Bazooka team, Dietz made his way into a position where he could neutralize the second also.
After bayoneting an additional enemy soldier, Dietz he used his rifle to dispatch 2 more enemy soldiers. Deitz was knocked to the ground by an exploding Panzerfaust but was swiftly back in the fight and killed the German who fired the Panzerfaust.
Knowing the Germans would blow the bridge Dietz jumped into the river and worked to disconnect the demolition charges. Having rendered the charges safe Dietz stood to signal to his comrades that the bridge was passable. SSG Dietz was hit by a barrage of rifle fire killing him instantly.
But the bridge was passable –
The last line of SSG Robert H. Dietz’s MOH certificate reads as follows:
“Staff Sergeant Dietz by his intrepidity and valiant effort on his self-imposed mission, single-handedly opened the road for the capture of Kirchain and left with his comrades an inspiring example of gallantry in the face of formidable odds.”