WWII hero being considered for the Medal of Honor

| August 10, 2020

Eric Wood Jr.

Military.com is reporting that U.S. Rep. John Joyce (R-PA) has introduced legislation to upgrade First Lieutenant Eric Wood Jr’s Distinguished Service Cross, awarded posthumously, to the Medal of Honor.

The story of Eric Wood (senior and junior) are worthy of Valor Friday posts. I’ll go into more detail in a future article, but the story of Eric Wood Jr. is absolutely incredible.

Executive officer of Battery A, 589th Field Artillery Battalion, 106th Infantry Division in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. During the battle in December, 1944 he ended up separated from his unit and alone in the woods. Finding another straggling American, they were then rescued by a friendly Belgian.

Unwilling to lay low, Lt Wood told the Belgians that he was going to get to friendly lines or start a guerrilla war. It was then that the townspeople of Meyerode, Belgium began hearing irregular gun fire against small formations of Germans, never large formations. German officers were overheard in town complaining about “scoundrels and bandits” operating in the woods around town.

Until the town was liberated (again) in January, 1945, Germans going into the woods in small groups disappeared. US Army Graves Registration personnel eventually took 200 dead Germans out of those woods.

The body of Lt Wood was also found, surrounded by seven dead German soldiers. He’d led a group of stranded American GIs in a guerrilla campaign against the Germans in the woods surrounding Meyerode for more than a month before he was killed.

He was awarded the DSC posthumously. I can’t find record of why he wasn’t originally awarded the MoH, since he certainly is deserving of the award. He might not have been recommended for it, but it is more likely from my research experience that a lack of eyewitnesses are the problem.

Source; Military.com

Read more about Lt Wood here; 160th Infantry History

Category: Army, Medal of Honor, Valor

Comments (8)

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  1. USAFRetired says:

    My guess is the multiple eyewitness requirement.

    • Tim says:

      Yes , see my post below, From what I have read , unfortunately there was not a single one, let alone two that were required during World War Two ( not sure of current policy ).

  2. Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman says:

    I’ve read that before about Lt Wood.
    It’s a wonder he was able to last as long as he did, with the clanking of his Big Brass Balls.
    Lt Wood made sure he had a hero’s entourage to escort him to Valhalla.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    DAAAAYUUUM!!! Had kinda forgotten about LT Wood. SFC Sledge, a 3 war Veteran that was our Senior Platoon SGT/DI in AIT at Ft Sill, had related the gist of this story to us, waaaaaaay back yonder. The whole idea being, that an Artilleryman may be called upon to do Infantryman’s work. Who’d a thunk. Imma gonna agree with USAFRetired and Tox on their comments too.

    Thanks Mason. Good to see a Member of the King of Battle presented.

    Gun Salute…Battery Fire…By the Piece…From Right to Left….COMMENCE FIRING!!!

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    Right man at the right time for those townfolk.

  5. Tim says:

    If you read Blood Dime Tide by Gerald Astor this subject is brought up. Let me explain, the book is about the battle of the bulge written from first hand accounts from both American and German soldiers who participated. The book details the exploits of several units on both sides and their respective commanders. From what was gathered from LT Wood was unfortunately their were no actual eyewitness accounts of his taking on the 7 Germans, therefore they Army could not award him the MOH. It was just policy , and they couldn’t bend it being afraid it would open up claims that were spurious. From what the book details nobody doubts LT Wood heroism, and as I recollect the read , there is a statue of him in the Belgian village he fought out of. As I stated, despite the men who served with and under him knowing what type of man he was , they could just never process the Full MOH due to not a single live witness, let alone two that were required. I hope this helps. Once again “ Blood Dimed Tide” by Gerald Astor ( ww2 vet ) , you can buy it used on Amazon for prob less than $10

    • Mason says:

      Haven’t read it, but that makes sense. I know they needed more than one eyewitness. It’s what continually held up Captain (Doctor) Ben Solomon’s (USA) MoH. This sounds very similar to the good doctor’s case.

      If you’re not familiar, I talked about him back here; https://valorguardians.com/blog/?p=85509