Thursday, January 30, 2014

TFH 1/30 Part 2: Private First Class Lloyd C. Hawks, USA

Lloyd Cortez Hawks was born on January 13, 1911 in Becker, Minnesota. At age eight he moved to Michigan with his family, but returned to his native Minnesota after graduating from high school. In 1940 at age 29 he decided to enlist in the United States Army but was soon discharged for being too old and out of shape.

Two years later in 1942, the Army relented and with a two-front war being waged, accepted him back into service as a medic. After training, Hawks joined the 3rd Infantry Division's 30th Infantry Regiment during the Italian Campaign.

It was good that the Army gave him a second chance...

On January 30, 1944 near Carano, Italy in the Anzio beachhead - half a world away from where Jesse Drowley saved several wounded comrades on Bougainville the same day - Private First Class Lloyd Hawks (unarmed, unlike the armed Drowley) ran twice to an exposed position to rescue two wounded soldiers; a rescue attempt that had already seen one of Hawks' fellow medics wounded trying it themselves.

Despite a burst from a machine gun that knocked his helmet off his head, despite enemy fires that wrecked both his right hip and left arm, Hawks crawled and clawed his way through battlefield hell to render aid to both the fallen medic and to administer care to the other two casualties and drag them to safety. Just less than one year later, the man once deemed unfit for service received our Nation's highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (G-L):


Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Carano, Italy, 30 January 1944. Entered service at: Park Rapids, Minn. G.O. No.: 5, 15 January 1945

Citation: For gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 30 January 1944, at 3 p.m., near Carano, Italy, Pfc. Hawks braved an enemy counterattack in order to rescue 2 wounded men who, unable to move, were lying in an exposed position within 30 yards of the enemy. Two riflemen, attempting the rescue, had been forced to return to their fighting holes by extremely severe enemy machinegun fire, after crawling only 10 yards toward the casualties. An aid man, whom the enemy could plainly identify as such, had been critically wounded in a similar attempt. Pfc. Hawks, nevertheless, crawled 50 yards through a veritable hail of machinegun bullets and flying mortar fragments to a small ditch, administered first aid to his fellow aid man who had sought cover therein, and continued toward the 2 wounded men 50 yards distant. An enemy machinegun bullet penetrated his helmet, knocking it from his head, momentarily stunning him. Thirteen bullets passed through his helmet as it lay on the ground within 6 inches of his body. Pfc. Hawks, crawled to the casualties, administered first aid to the more seriously wounded man and dragged him to a covered position 25 yards distant. Despite continuous automatic fire from positions only 30 yards away and shells which exploded within 25 yards, Pfc. Hawks returned to the second man and administered first aid to him. As he raised himself to obtain bandages from his medical kit his right hip was shattered by a burst of machinegun fire and a second burst splintered his left forearm. Displaying dogged determination and extreme self-control, Pfc. Hawks, despite severe pain and his dangling left arm, completed the task of bandaging the remaining casualty and with superhuman effort dragged him to the same depression to which he had brought the first man. Finding insufficient cover for 3 men at this point, Pfc. Hawks crawled 75 yards in an effort to regain his company, reaching the ditch in which his fellow aid man was lying.

Hawks remained in the Army after his recovery from his wounds and the Second World War. He went on to serve during the Korean War and attained the rank of Sergeant First Class. Hawks passed away due to a heart attack at the all-too-early age of 42 on October 26, 1953. He rests in peace at the Greenwood Cemetery in Park Rapids, Minnesota. The local American Legion post donated a new grave marker for him in 2012 that includes details of his heroic acts inscribed on its reverse.

One of the medical clinics at Fort Stewart, Georgia, the 3rd Infantry Division's home, was named in Lloyd Hawks' honor and memory in January 2007. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Hawks was also a three-time recipient of the Silver Star for valor in performing his medic duties during World War II.

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