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Joseph J. Sadowski

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Joseph J. Sadowski

Joseph J. Sadowski
Born (1917-12-08)December 8, 1917
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Died September 14, 1944(1944-09-14) (aged 26)
Valhey, France
Place of burial Saint Stephens Cemetery,
Keasbey, New Jersey
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1941 - 1944
Rank Sergeant
Unit 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor

Joseph John Sadowski (December 8, 1917 – September 14, 1944) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.


Sadowski joined the Army from his birth city of Perth Amboy, New Jersey in May 1941,[1] and by September 14, 1944 was serving as a Sergeant in the 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division. On that day, in Valhey, France, Sadowski's tank was disabled by enemy fire. He and his crew dismounted the vehicle, except for one man who was trapped inside the burning tank. Despite intense enemy fire, Sadowski returned to the tank and attempted to rescue the crewman, but was killed before he could do so. For his actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor seven months later, on April 23, 1945.

Sadowski, aged 26 at his death, was buried in Saint Stephens Cemetery, Keasbey, New Jersey. The Sadowski Field House at Fort Knox is named in his honor. A monument to Sadowski was erected on the Parkway bearing his name in Perth Amboy by the Society of Polish Combatants (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantow), Post 40. In 1999, the citizens of Valhey, France, also erected a monument honoring Sgt. Sadowski. In September, 2009, ceremonies were held at the monument recognizing 65 years since Sgt. Sadowski's death. Colonel James Herbert (Jimmie) Leach Company Commander in the 37th Tank Battalion at the time of Sgt. Sadowski's death made remarks.[2]

Medal of Honor citation

Sergeant Sadowski's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at Valhey, France. On the afternoon of 14 September 1944, Sgt. Sadowski as a tank commander was advancing with the leading elements of Combat Command A, 4th Armored Division, through an intensely severe barrage of enemy fire from the streets and buildings of the town of Valhey. As Sgt. Sadowski's tank advanced through the hail of fire, it was struck by a shell from an 88-mm. gun fired at a range of 20 yards. The tank was disabled and burst into flames. The suddenness of the enemy attack caused confusion and hesitation among the crews of the remaining tanks of our forces. Sgt. Sadowski immediately ordered his crew to dismount and take cover in the adjoining buildings. After his crew had dismounted, Sgt. Sadowski discovered that 1 member of the crew, the bow gunner, had been unable to leave the tank. Although the tank was being subjected to a withering hail of enemy small-arms, bazooka, grenade, and mortar fire from the streets and from the windows of adjacent buildings, Sgt. Sadowski unhesitatingly returned to his tank and endeavored to pry up the bow gunner's hatch. While engaged in this attempt to rescue his comrade from the burning tank, he was cut down by a stream of machinegun fire which resulted in his death. The gallant and noble sacrifice of his life in the aid of his comrade, undertaken in the face of almost certain death, so inspired the remainder of the tank crews that they pressed forward with great ferocity and completely destroyed the enemy forces in this town without further loss to themselves. The heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Sgt. Sadowski, which resulted in his death, inspired the remainder of his force to press forward to victory, and reflect the highest tradition of the armed forces.

See also


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