Sunday, April 28, 2013

TFH 4/28: Private Nicholas Minue, USA

Nicholas Minue was born to ethnic Ukrainian parents in Sedden, Poland on March 13, 1905. He emigrated with his family to the United States, where they settled in Carteret, New Jersey. In 1926 at age 21, he volunteered and enlisted in the United States Army. Minue made the Army his home, and by 1942 with sixteen years of service held the rank of Sergeant. Then 37 years old, he requested assignment to any of the hundreds of combat units being assembled for war in either Europe or the Pacific. His request was denied, as he was thought to be too old or too senior.

Fighting for his adopted homeland, fighting for the liberation of his birth land from Nazi tyranny; no order saying "no" would keep Nicholas Minue from fulfilling the soldier's duty of going to war. He voluntarily gave up his rank, reverted to the status and pay of a mere Private, and went to combat with the 6th Armored Infantry Regiment of the 1st Armored Division.

The motto of the 1st Armored Division is "Lead the way!". Seventy years ago today on April 28, 1943 as American forces assaulted the Nazi German right flank on the Tunisian coast, Minue's unit (Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry) was taken under machine gun fires, temporarily halting their advance. Indeed leading the way, Nicholas Minue fixed his bayonet to the muzzle of his M1 Garand rifle, charged forward alone, and routed the enemy out of position after position until he was mortally wounded.

For his single-handed display of unquenchable courage that inspired his entire unit onward to victory, he was posthumously decorated with the Medal of Honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (M-S):


Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company A, 6th Armored Infantry, 1st Armored Division. Place and date: Near Medjez El Bab, Tunisia, 28 April 1943. Entered service at: Carteret, N.J. Birth: Sedden, Poland. G.O. No.: 24, 25 March 1944. Citation: For distinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the loss of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy on 28 April 1943, in the vicinity of Medjez El Bab, Tunisia. When the advance of the assault elements of Company A was held up by flanking fire from an enemy machinegun nest, Pvt. Minue voluntarily, alone, and unhesitatingly, with complete disregard of his own welfare, charged the enemy entrenched position with fixed bayonet. Pvt. Minue assaulted the enemy under a withering machinegun and rifle fire, killing approximately 10 enemy machinegunners and riflemen. After completely destroying this position, Pvt. Minue continued forward, routing enemy riflemen from dugout positions until he was fatally wounded. The courage, fearlessness and aggressiveness displayed by Pvt. Minue in the face of inevitable death was unquestionably the factor that gave his company the offensive spirit that was necessary for advancing and driving the enemy from the entire sector.

Private Minue's Medal was presented to his mother in April, 1944. Minue himself today rests not in his adopted homeland but with 2,840 of his fallen comrades at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage, Tunisia. He is the only Medal of Honor recipient interred there.

There are another 3,724 names inscribed on the Memorial Wall there, most of whose resting places are still unknown but to God.

1st Battalion, 6th Infantry is a present-day combined arms (mixed mechanized infantry and armor) battalion with the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division. Their home station is Fort Bliss, Texas.

On school days, about one-third of the pre-K through 5th grade students in Carteret, New Jersey walk through the doors of Private Nicholas Minue School. I so dearly hope that those boys and girls are told of the brave soldier who came to Carteret as a child like themselves, who later so valiantly fought so they can learn in freedom today seventy years hence.

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