The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was awarded seven Distinguished Unit Citations (name changed to Presidential Unit Citations in 1966). This is the highest award that a unit can earn. The criteria for a Distinguished Unit Citation is:
The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and co-belligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or after 7 December 1941. The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set it apart and above other units participating in the same campaign. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of a Distinguished Service Cross to an individual. Extended periods of combat duty or participation in a large number of operational missions, either ground or air is not sufficient. This award will normally be earned by units that have participated in single or successive actions covering relatively brief time spans. It is not reasonable to presume that entire units can sustain Distinguished Service Cross performance for extended time periods except under the most unusual circumstances. Only on rare occasions will a unit larger than battalion qualify for award of this decoration.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY APO 464 US ARMY
GENERAL ORDERS 17 July 1945 NUMBER 89 EXTRACT
I CITATION OF UNITS.
Under the provisions of Section IV, Circular Number 333, War Department, 1943, the following named organizations are cited for outstanding performances of duty in action, and are awarded citation streamers therefor. Individuals assigned or attached to these units are entitled to wear the Distinguished Unit Badge to identify such citation:
THE 2D BATTALION, 442D REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action on 19 October 1944 near Bruyeres, France, on 28 and 29 October 1944 near Biffontaine, France, and from 6 to 10 April 1945, near Massa, Italy. The 2D BATTALION executed a brillian tactical operation in capturing Hill 503, to expedite the forward movement beyond Bruyeres, France and to erase the German threat from the rear. While two companies pressed forward against a formidable enemy main line of resistance, other elements of the battalion struck the enemy paralyzing blows from all directions, practically eliminating an entire German company and destroying numerous enemy automatic weapons. Attacking the strategic heights of Hill 617 near Biffontaine, France, on 28 October 1944, the 2D BATTALION secured its objective in a two-day operation which eliminated a threat to the flanks of two American divisions. In the face of intense enemy barrages and numerous counterattacks, the infantrymen of this battalion fought their way through difficult jungle-like terrain in freezing weather and completely encircled the enemy. Methodically, the members of the 2D BATTALION hammered the enemy, inflicting heavy casualties upon the defenders and wrestling this vital feature from the surviving Germans. Maintaining its admirable record of achievement in the vicinity of Massa, Italy, the 2D BATTALION smashed through and exploited the strong Green Line on the Ligurian Coast. Surging over formidable heights through strong resistance, the 2D BATTALION in five days of continuous heavy fighting captured a series of objectives to pave the way for the entry into the important communications centers of Massa and Carrara, Italy, without opposition. In this operation the 2D BATTALION accounted for more than 200 Germans and captured or destroyed large quantities of enemy material. The courage, determination and esprit de corps evidenced by the officers and men of the 2D BATTALION, 442D REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces of the United States.
BY COMMAND OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL TRUSCOTT:
DON E. CARLETON Brigadier General, GSC Chief of Staff
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTH ARMY APO 758 US ARMY
GENERAL ORDERS 21 January 1945. NUMBER 13
II - BATTLE HONORS - CITATION OF UNIT. By direction of the President, under the provisions of Section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, the following named organizations are cited for outstanding performance of duty in action:
Company F, 442d REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM. Company L, 442d REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM.
For outstanding performance of duty in action on 21 October 1944, in the vicinity of Belmont, France. Assigned the mission of assaulting the flank and rear of the resistance which had stopped two frontal attacks by the Combat Team, Companies F and L, 442d Regimental Combat Team, designated the O'Connor Task Force, launched an attack down the north slope of the wooded ridge, Foret de Belmont. Company L, leading the assault, defeated a security group in a short, sharp action, capturing several prisoners. Then, by the prompt use of rifle grenades and mortars, the garrisoned houses just outside the woods were quickly reduced. The capture of these houses was an important factor in the success of the mission, as it gave the Task Force observation of the ground to the enemy's rear. To complete its work, the Task Force now had to interdict enemy movement, drive a wedge through the forces resisting the Combat Team, and effect a junction with the main force. Heavy casualties were inflicted by artillery fire directed by the Task Force's forward observer on the enemy positions. Then, assault groups began to clear the defenders from houses to the north of La Broquaine. The capture of these houses not only divided the enemy forces, but made certain that large numbers of the enemy would be trapped between the Task Force and the advancing Combat Team. By mid-afternoon the Task Force and the Combat Team made contact, and what enemy troops were not surrounded were completely routed, thus bringing to a close a plan brilliantly conceived and expertly executed. By the next day the Combat Team had secured the high ridge which dominates Belmont. This ridge was both a protective arc around the recently won communications center of Bruyeres, and an entering wedge in the drive to the Meurthe River. In destroying the enemy Main Line of Resistance and advancing the Divisional front lines approximately two thousand meters, the Task Force captured fifty-six prisoners, killed eighty of the enemy, and captured considerable quantities of enemy material and equipment. The fearless determination, daring and intrepidity displayed by the officers and enlisted men of the O'Connor Task Force exemplify the finest traditions of the Armed Forces of the United States.
By command of Lieutenant General PATCH:
ARTHUR A. WHITE Major General, GSC Chief of Staff
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