John R Crews MOH

b. 08/03/1923 Golden, Oklahoma. d. 25/09/1999 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 08/04/1945 Lobenbacherhof, Germany.

John R Crews MOH

John R. Crews, a native of Golden, Oklahoma, joined the Army in December 1942. He served as a military policeman before entering combat in Europe in December 1944 with the 63d Division.

As springtime 1945 arrived, Allied forces crossed the Rhine and embarked on the climactic battles of the war in Europe. On April 8, Staff Sergeant Crews, a squad leader with the 253d Infantry Regiment, 63d Infantry Division, was advancing with his company toward the German village of Lobenbacherhof when his platoon leader was wounded by machine-gun and automatic-rifle fire from a hill on their right flank.

Sergeant Crews rushed the German stronghold with two men. One was killed and the other badly wounded, but Sergeant Crews continued to advance up the hill in the face of heavy fire. Storming troops who were well dug in, he fired his M-1 rifle at point-blank range to kill two men of the machine-gun crew and grabbed a weapon from the hands of a German soldier he had wounded. Then he charged the automatic-rifle position, was badly wounded in the thigh from crossfire, but silenced that site with rifle fire. His actions so unnerved the remaining German soldiers that seven surrendered to him and the others fled. While the enemy was concentrating on Sergeant Crews’s one-man onslaught, the other members of his company had moved into the village. When medics who came to Sergeant Crews’s aid experienced difficulty keeping the prisoners under control, he grabbed a rifle while still on his stretcher and helped herd them off.

On June 25, 1948, he received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman at the White House. In presenting him the Medal of Honor, President Truman asked, ”Where did you get the courage to fight like you did?” ”I learned at home, ”Mr. Crews replied, ”that you do everything you’re told. I saw no difference in my military orders.”

After leaving military service at war’s end, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University and was a supervisor at a meat-products company in Oklahoma City. For many years, Mr. Crews was reluctant to talk about his combat experiences. ”I didn’t care whether anyone knew,” he said in an interview with The Daily Oklahoman the year before his death. ”It was difficult to talk about. It just left such an emotional load.”

John, who was married with two sons and two daughters (this wife Joan pre-deceased him in 1996), died of a heart attack aged 76 on 25 September 1999.



He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 8 April 1945 near Lobenbacherhof, Germany. As his company was advancing toward the village under heavy fire, an enemy machinegun and automatic rifle with rifle support opened upon it from a hill on the right flank. Seeing that his platoon leader had been wounded by their fire, S/Sgt. Crews, acting on his own initiative, rushed the strongpoint with 2 men of his platoon. Despite the fact that 1 of these men was killed and the other was badly wounded, he continued his advance up the hill in the face of terrific enemy fire. Storming the well-dug-in position single-handedly, he killed 2 of the crew of the machinegun at pointblank range with his M 1 rifle and wrested the gun from the hands of the German whom he had already wounded. He then with his rifle charged the strongly emplaced automatic rifle. Although badly wounded in the thigh by crossfire from the remaining enemy, he kept on and silenced the entire position with his accurate and deadly rifle fire. His actions so unnerved the remaining enemy soldiers that 7 of them surrendered and the others fled. His heroism caused the enemy to concentrate on him and permitted the company to move forward into the village.