Dr. Steven E. Anders
When the 30th Infantry Regiment hit the beach at Anzio, Italy, in January 1944, one of those to go ashore as a Quartermaster-turned-Infantryman, was the First Cook assigned to India Company Technician Fifth Grade Eric G. Gibson.
In the months before, Tech 5 Gibson
worked out a deal with his commanding officer that
whenever the company went into battle, he could serve as
a rifleman in one of the Infantry squads and go out on
patrol. But as soon as B-rations were available, he had
to return to his regular duties in the kitchen.
Later on as company scout, he located several enemy positions and managed to kill one German soldier and to wound another in succeeding firefights. While continuing in this dual capacity as Company Cook and Number One Scout in the wake of Anzio he repeatedly distinguished himself in combat along the Italian coastline.
Then on 28 January 1944, Tech 5 Gibson joined the ranks of the immortal. Around 1200 hours, near the village of Isola Bella, Italy, India Company came under withering enemy attack. Gibson, with a tiny squad of replacements, rushed out to secure the units right flank and in so doing, destroyed four enemy positions, killing five and capturing two Germans. He then went out a full 50 meters in front of the squad and running, leaping, dodging automatic weapons fire, he single-handedly knocked out another position with his pistol.
He continued moving toward other bunkers, firing a submachine gun with almost every step forward, as enemy artillery began to zero in on his position. Nonstop automatic weapons rounds passed within inches of his body, yet he never paused in his forward movement. He crawled much of the last 125 meters right through a concentrated artillery and small arms barrage, and dropped two hand grenades into a German machinegun emplacement killing two more and wounding another. And was in one final face-to-face engagement when an enemy round finally cut him down.
For his conspicuous gallantry and PERSONAL COURAGE under fire, Tech 5 Gibson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor one of 33 Quartermasters to receive that high honor to date.
From the Quartermaster Professional Bulletin, Spring 1998 issue.
Dr. Anders is a historian for the Army's Quartermaster Corps