b. 23/07/1917 Long, Oklahoma. d. 11/06/2002 Muskogee, Oklahoma.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 22/02/1944 near Padiglione, Italy.
Jack C Montgomery MOH
Montgomery attended Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in Northern Oklahoma before transferring to Carnegie High School. He is one of three graduates from Chilocco to have earned the Medal of Honor, making the Chilocco School one of the smallest schools in the United States to have graduated so many Medal of Honor recipients. After graduating in 1936, he enrolled at Bacone College and enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard. In 1938, Montgomery transferred to Redlands University in California. He returned to Oklahoma in 1940. After the attack on Pearl Harbour, he reenlisted in the Army and served with his old unit, the 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Divsion, through the duration of World War II.
In February 1944, Jack Montgomery was a First Lieutenant in I Company of the 180th Regiment. While defending the beachhead at Anzio, Lt. Montgomery’s platoon came under fire from three fortified German positions. Lt. Montgomery single-handedly assaulted those positions with covering fire from artillery and his men. His actions that day earned him the Medal of Honor. Later in the day, Montgomery was wounded by mortar fire and taken to the field hospital on the Anzio beach. He was evacuated back to the United States, where he recovered and returned to service with a training Army in Texas. He was serving there when he received his medal from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Jack Montgomery left the service in 1945 and spent the rest of his life in Oklahoma. For his service during World War II, Jack Montgomery was awarded the Medal of Honor, two Silver Stars, and two Purple Hearts. He died at the age of eighty-four and is buried in the Fort Gibson National Cemetery. The Veterans Health Administration medical center in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is named his honor.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 22 February 1944, near Padiglione, Italy. Two hours before daybreak a strong force of enemy infantry established themselves in three echelons at 50 yards, 100 yards, and 300 yards, respectively, in front of the rifle platoons commanded by 1st Lt. Montgomery. The closest position, consisting of four machine guns and one mortar, threatened the immediate security of the platoon position. Seizing an M1 rifle and several hand grenades, 1st Lt. Montgomery crawled up a ditch to within hand-grenade range of the enemy. Then climbing boldly onto a little mound, he fired his rifle and threw his grenades so accurately that he killed eight of the enemy and captured the remaining four. Returning to his platoon, he called for artillery fire on a house, in and around which he suspected that the majority of the enemy had entrenched themselves. Arming himself with a carbine, he proceeded along the shallow ditch, as withering fire from the riflemen and machine gunners in the second position was concentrated on him. He attacked this position with such fury that seven of the enemy surrendered to him, and both machine guns were silenced. Three German dead were found in the vicinity later that morning. First Lt. Montgomery continued boldly toward the house, 300 yards from his platoon position. It was now daylight, and the enemy observation was excellent across the flat open terrain which led to 1st Lt. Montgomery’s objective. When the artillery barrage had lifted, 1st Lt. Montgomery ran fearlessly toward the strongly defended position. As the enemy started streaming out of the house, 1st Lt. Montgomery, unafraid of treacherous snipers, exposed himself daringly to assemble the surrendering enemy and send them to the rear. His fearless, aggressive, and intrepid actions that morning accounted for a total of 11 enemy dead, 32 prisoners, and an unknown number of wounded. That night, while aiding an adjacent unit to repulse a counterattack, he was struck by mortar fragments and seriously wounded. The selflessness and courage exhibited by 1st Lt. Montgomery in alone attacking three strong enemy positions inspired his men to a degree beyond estimation.
BURIAL LOCATION: FORT GIBSON NATIONAL CEMETERY, FORT GIBSON, OKLAHOMA.
SECTION 20, GRAVE 963.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: OKLAHOMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA.