I had no idea men like this actually existed.
Llewellyn Morris Chilson was awarded over a dozen combat decorations for service in World War II, including 3 purple hearts.
Here is the citation for one of his Distinguished Service Cross:
…When the enemy opened up with 20-mm. guns on the company’s positions shortly after entering the town of Meilenholen, Germany, Sergeant Chilson quickly observed their positions and moved a jeep, armed with a machine gun, to the middle of the street and opened fire. In the ensuing action, he personally knocked out two flak guns, one 88-mm. gun, rendered another 88-mm. useless by knocking out it’s crew and killed approximately 40 enemy riflemen. When our reconnaissance troops advanced to take the town of Zell, they were halted by 20-mm. flak fire. Sergeant Chilson quickly mounted a motorcycle, abandoned by the enemy and riding in front of the reconnaissance troop located six more 20-mm. guns. One flak gun opened fire on him from a distance of about 50 yards and his motorcycle was shot from under him. He hit the dirt, rolled over, jumped to his feet, and ran directly towards the gun position and threw a grenade. This action killed three members of the enemy crew and knocked out the gun. Returning to the lead tank, he directed their fire upon the remaining five flak guns which were subsequently destroyed.
Sergeant Chilson has always been an inspiration to the men of his company and his intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 45th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Had I not thoroughly researched Sgt. Chilson, I would’ve thought that this kind of heroism was surely a piece of fiction. Motorcycles, grenades, 40 enemy men killed single-handed!
Let’s look at another one of his citations:
…While engaged in taking the town of Neuberg, Germany, Sergeant Chilson and his platoon were halted by intense automatic weapons fire coming from a second story apartment house. Realizing that unless the enemy was knocked out immediately a large number of casualties would be inflicted upon his platoon, Sergeant Chilson, with complete disreguard for his own safety, rushed across the fire-swept street and into the house. Racing up the stairs to the second floor, he tossed a high explosive grenade into the room killing two members of the enemy machine gun crew and capturing eight. He then called his platoon forward and they occupied the building without a casualty. Later, as one of his squads was moving into the next house, they were halted by automatic rifle fire which came from a courtyard. Again Sergeant Chilson came forward, and tossing a white phosphorous grenade into the courtyard, assaulted the enemy position. Firing his carbine with his left hand after being wounded in the right arm by an enemy bullet, he killed two of the enemy and captured a third. His daring and utter disregard for his own personal safety is worthy of the highest praise and is a credit to himself and the armed forces.”
I’m quite grateful for men like Llewellyn Chilson, who were willing to sacrifice so much in the pursuit of freedom, and in the protection of his fellow soldiers, friends, and brothers. Thanks for setting the bar high.