President of the United States
Rank and Organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army,
Company H, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and Date Near
Schevenhutte, Germany, 19 November 1944. Entered Service at: Camden.
N.J. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. G.O. No.: 92, 25 October 1945.
He manned a heavy machinegun emplaced in a foxhole near Schevenhutte, Germany, on 19 November 1944, when the enemy launched a fierce counterattack. Braving an intense hour-long preparatory barrage, he maintained his stand and poured deadly accurate fire into the advancing foot troops until they faltered and came to a halt. The hostile forces brought up a machinegun in an effort to dislodge him but were frustrated when he lifted his gun to an exposed but advantageous position atop a log, courageously stood up in his foxhole and knocked out the enemy weapon. A rocket blasted his gun from position, but he retrieved it and continued firing. He silenced a second machinegun and then made repeated trips over fire-swept terrain to replenish his ammunition supply. Wounded painfully in this dangerous task, he disregarded his injury and hurried back to his post, where his weapon was showered with mud when another rocket barely missed him. In the midst of the battle, with enemy troops taking advantage of his predicament to press forward, he calmly cleaned his gun, put it back into action and drove off the attackers. He continued to fire until his ammunition was expended, when, with a fierce desire to close with the enemy, he picked up a carbine, killed one enemy soldier, wounded another and engaged in a desperate firefight with a third until he was mortally wounded by a burst from a machine pistol. The extraordinary heroism and intrepidity displayed by Pvt. McGraw inspired his comrades to great efforts and was a major factor in repulsing the enemy attack.
A tribute to Dad and Uncle Frank.
The first part is dad in Hawaii. He was at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941
Dad, Aunt Mary, Mom behind Mary at dedication of Ship. Captain holding plaque.
the house where Uncle Frank,
For more information on
The site will open in it's
My grandfather served with your Uncle
Lori found a YouTube video I put up about Uncle Frank. She contacted me.
Friday March 29th 2019
Lori Head email@example.com,
My name is Lori Head and my grandfather served in the 1st Division 26th infantry during WW2. While going through some papers for my son, for a project he was doing on WW2 in school. I acquired some information from my brother about my grandfather. It was information that my grandfather had told my brother before he died about what happened leading up to his injuries. On October 23rd, 1944 near Aachen, Germany the 1st Division (508th M.P.B.N. had been assisting the 1st Division Inf as snipers and were now permanently assigned to their light machine gun unit).
V-Mail October 26, 1944 5 miles outside of Hurtgen forest “Still in a foxhole and had to go on guard duty in a couple of hours. It was 2:00PM says that they were passing out Cigarettes and Lifesavers and the officers had given them V-Mail and told them to write home. Say’s they sure are giving German’s Hell. Say’s they can hear the shells got over our heads.
V-Mail October 30, 1944 still 5 miles outside the Hurtgen Forest.
They haven’t shaved in a week, they are on the front line for real. It was cold and they got new shoes, socks and underwear. He cut a guy’s hair and they were waiting for inspection.
October 31, 1944 In a resting area V-Mail
Just got back from the movies, they watched Mr. Winkle goes to war, the guys haven’t received any mail in a while.
Grandpap’s last V-Mail was on November 7, 1944 the rest of this information was word of mouth from my grandfather and the information from the first Division Museum at Cantigny.
Grandpap said, “once we were in the forest, we dug our foxholes as quickly as possible and just tried to ride the shelling out. At night they would cut down pie tree limbs and cover their foxholes and huddle together to keep warm.” “No one slept in their unit unless one person was awake, because the area was crawling with Germans. “Pap said, “the biggest worries were when it began to snow, because they were afraid Germans might come along and accidently step into a foxhole.” At this point the Germans were using 80- and 120-MM Mortars and they were targeting the tops of trees causing intense damage. He said the safest place when they went off was hugging the tree, because it literally blew the tree apart causing more damage to people than the shrapnel. He said, “it was a constant fight, they would take 10 feet and then loose it.” They had no tank support at this time, because they couldn’t get them into the woods. They were forced to use machine guns and mortars. Artillery would whistle over their heads and they would move from foxhole to foxhole, dodging mines and cutting concertina wire as they went.
Sunday November 19, 1944 The mortar fire started my Grandfather and two other guys that made up his machine gun unit dove for a foxhole nearby. A mortar whistled in and exploded above their heads in the treetops sending shrapnel in all directions. Grandpap said, “the sound was deafening as shell fragments and chunks of trees flew down around them.” It was in this 15-minute time span on this snowy German battlefield that my Grandfather Private Walter K Bedillion would become a quadriplegic. Unknown to my Grandfather at the time was that the gunner next to him would continue firing for an hour until the machine gun was blasted from his hands. He then stood up in the foxhole in the midst of enemy fire and silenced two machine guns before enemy fire would mortally wound him. For his heroism he would receive the Congressional medal of Honor. My grandfather said, he thinks it was 6 hours he would lie in that foxhole bleeding only able to move his head (it’s hard to say in his condition), until the evacuation team and medics made it to him.
I searched the Congressional Metal of Honor records and could only find your Uncle receiving that Honor for that specific day, in that place, with that division and unit. My grandfather didn’t know your uncle by name, but he thanked him everyday for giving his life for others. My Pap lived for 55 years after his injury. He was a wonderful man who loved his country and lived his life for all of those who never made it back. Although he was paralyzed from the neck down, he never let it get him down and said he would have never changed a thing. We lost our pap in 1999, everyday he would put his flag out in front of his home and salute it. Never once did we ever hear him complain about being in a wheelchair and anytime, he was faced with a challenge he would take it head on. He taught us to respect our country, veterans and family. I thought that you should know this. I have great respect for what your Uncle did, without him my grandfather may never had made it. God Bless your family.
Lori Ann Head
The photo was of my Grandparents and my mom when Pap made it stateside.
Oct 17th 2015
Dear Mrs. McGraw, dear Mr. McGraw,
my name is Albert Trostorf. I am the Mayor of Merode in Germany and a passionate WWII Historian. My favourite unit is the 26th Infantry of the 1st Infantry Division. I ´ve studied the history of this unit since 1977.
I have been in contact with many veterans and now with family members of those heroes.
I found your most interesting and informative webpage. It would be a great honor and pleasure for me, if I could share some information with you. I have search many years to find and locate the site where Francix X McGraw fought his final battle. It is not too far from my home here at Merode.
Any answer to this email would be greatly appreciated.
Albert Trostorf Mayor Merode/Germany
Dear Mr. McGraw:
My name is Albert J. Trostorf. I am the Mayor of Merode in Germany and a WWII Historian. My favourite hobby is the history of the 1st Infantry Division during the Battle for the Huertgen Forest. Your uncle Francis X. McGraw who was decorated with the Medal of Honor posth. was killed in the forest behind my home here at Merode. For many years I have been in contact with one of his comrades. They gave me a very detailed description of the position. I searched for many days, but finally I found his old emplacement in the forest southwest of Merode. Please, feel free to write or contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Albert Trostorf Mayor
This is the way we handed the medals to Frank A. Blazich. Mom framed them.
In writing "The Quiet Hero from Camden: Remembering the Valor of Francis X. McGraw" Dr. Frank A. Blazich asked if I knew of any stories of Uncle Frank as a young man that might speak to his character.
I remembered a story Uncle Tom told me.
Uncle Tom, my Dad, and a few grade school buddies were playing baseball. A group of high school boys came by and pushed them off the field because they wanted it. Standing no chance against the older guys, they walked off. Heading home, they ran into Frank and told him what happened. He immediately walked to the field. He picked up a baseball bat, walked over to third base and threw it up on a garage roof. He stood in front of the garage with his bat and without uttering a word, dared them to get it. The older boys deliberated for a minute and walked away to find another baseball field.
Again from my Uncle Tom. After Africa, Frank was very sick and spent time in a hospital in the UK to recover. Uncle Tom said Uncle Frank was sick enough that he could have been sent home. The war could have ended for him right there. He refused, recovered, and rejoined his platoon.
Uncle Tom said Frank was actually a mild mannered man unless you messed with his family or friends. He hated bullies. He said you could push Frank a mile and get no reaction but if anyone touched him or my dad, his reaction was swift and final.
Uncle Tom loved talking about Uncle Frank, I loved listening.
Stephen Lang, the actor, does a one man show on eight Medal of Honor recipients, called Beyond Glory.