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First Name: Charles

Last Name: Shea

Birthplace: New York City, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: New York City, NY
Middle Name: William

Date of Birth: 24 August 1921

Date of Death: 07 April 1994

Rank: Colonel

Years Served: 1942-45, 1949 -72
Charles William Shea

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Charles William Shea

Colonel, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Colonel Charles William Shea (24 August 1921 - 7 April 1994) was a U.S. Army officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Charles W. Shea was born on 24 August 1921 in New York City; he also joined the Army from that city. On 12 May 1944, he was serving as a Second Lieutenant in Company F, 350th Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division. Near Mount Damiano, Italy, that day, he single-handedly disabled three German machine gun nests. For his heroism, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company F, 350th Infantry, 88th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Mount Damiano, Italy, 12 May 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, on 12 May 1944, near Mount Damiano, Italy. As 2d Lt. Shea and his company were advancing toward a hill occupied by the enemy, 3 enemy machineguns suddenly opened fire, inflicting heavy casualties upon the company and halting its advance. 2d Lt. Shea immediately moved forward to eliminate these machinegun nests in order to enable his company to continue its attack. The deadly hail of machinegun fire at first pinned him down, but, boldly continuing his advance, 2d Lt. Shea crept up to the first nest. Throwing several hand grenades, he forced the 4 enemy soldiers manning this position to surrender, and disarming them, he sent them to the rear. He then crawled to the second machinegun position, and after a short fire fight forced 2 more German soldiers to surrender. At this time, the third machinegun fired at him, and while deadly small arms fire pitted the earth around him, 2d Lt. Shea crawled toward the nest. Suddenly he stood up and rushed the emplacement and with well-directed fire from his rifle, he killed all 3 of the enemy machine gunners. 2d Lt. Shea's display of personal valor was an inspiration to the officers and men of his company.

Shea reached the rank of Colonel before leaving the Army.

Death and Burial

Colonel Charles W. Shea died on 7 April 1994 at age 72. He is buried at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, NY.

Honoree ID: 1641   Created by: MHOH




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