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First Name: Turney

Last Name: Leonard

Birthplace: Dallas, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: White

Date of Birth: 18 June 1921

Date of Death: 06 November 1944 (Presumed)

Rank: First Lieutenant

Years Served: 1942 - 1944
Turney White Leonard

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Turney White Leonard
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

First Lieutenant Turney White Leonard (18 June 1921 - 6 November 1944) was a U.S. Army officer who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during World War II.

Turney White Leonard was born on 18 June 1921 in Dallas, TX. Leonard graduated from Texas A&M University in 1942 with a Bachelor's degree in Agriculture. He was commissioned in 1942 via the ROTC program at Texas A & M and was serving as a platoon leader in Company C, 893rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. In October 1944 that unit was attached to the 112th Infantry Regiment of the 28th Infantry Division during that unit's assault on the Siegfried Line through the Hürtgen Forest area along the German-Belgian border.

From 4-6 November 1944, Leonard's company was heavily engaged in the fighting in and around the village of Kommerscheidt, west of Schmidt. During the three days, he repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire. When all officers of the infantry unit his platoon was supporting became incapacitated, Leonard assumed command. Already seriously wounded in the arm on the first day, he refused medical evacuation to remain with his troops. On 6 November, a mortar round severed the remainder of his arm, and forced him to report to the aid station. Leonard was left behind with the other seriously wounded in the hopes that the Germans, who were about to overrun the American positions, would provide medical care, but he ordered the medic to place him in a concealed foxhole with a weapon, explaining that he did not want to be taken prisoner. Leonard was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company C, 893rd Tank Destroyer Battalion.

Place and date: Kommerscheidt, Germany, 4-6 November 1944.

Citation: He displayed extraordinary heroism while commanding a platoon of mobile weapons at Kommerscheidt, Germany, on 4, 5, and 6 November 1944. During the fierce 3-day engagement, he repeatedly braved overwhelming enemy fire in advance of his platoon to direct the fire of his tank destroyer from exposed, dismounted positions. He went on lone reconnaissance missions to discover what opposition his men faced, and on 1 occasion, when fired upon by a hostile machinegun, advanced alone and eliminated the enemy emplacement with a hand grenade. When a strong German attack threatened to overrun friendly positions, he moved through withering artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, reorganized confused infantry units whose leaders had become casualties, and exhorted them to hold firm. Although wounded early in battle, he continued to direct fire from his advanced position until he was disabled by a high-explosive shell which shattered his arm, forcing him to withdraw. He was last seen at a medical aid station which was subsequently captured by the enemy. By his superb courage, inspiring leadership, and indomitable fighting spirit, 1st Lt. Leonard enabled our forces to hold off the enemy attack and was personally responsible for the direction of fire which destroyed 6 German tanks.

Death and Burial

First Lieutenant Turney White Leonard was killed in action on 6 November 1944. After the war, his remains were found in a field grave dug by the Germans. He is buried at Grove Hill Memorial Park, Dallas, Dallas County, TX, in Section 158, Lot 32, Grave 8.

Honoree ID: 1497   Created by: MHOH




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