Glenn Chapman is not alone. Only a small minority of the countless acts of heroism and valor culminate with the decoration of a medal, such as the Purple Heart through the Bronze Star and the Medal of Honor. The honor of a medal holds little value to the WW2 soldier then and now. The soldier's motivation for deeds mundane through courageous was simple enough. Primary themes involve ‘doing my job’, or 'not disappointing Mother' or 'for my buddy.' A ticket home alive remains the ultimate reward.
The Army decoration process was imperfect but not broken. Its administration always involved judgment calls. Add to this the availability of less than perfect information or facts. Truth is the first casualty of war. Time played a factor too. The period of time between an act of heroism and an honor award was almost always short in duration. Full context and prospective develop with time and were unavailable. The demand of waging war took top priority along with getting out alive and back to the States.
Glenn and most other GIs returned to civilian life after the war. Without self-aggrandizement, Glen devoted himself to caring for his family, his faith and to a productive career. He and millions of others lived normal lives. Like General Eisenhower ".. hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity." To this day, most veterans understate and underplay their role in the war. Each man's account of 'what did you do in WW2' is an important stitch in the fabric that is our national heritage. Each loss represents a rip or tear. Thank a veteran. Take interest in his 'war stories' Record them. Keep all records.
Glenn Chapman received the Bronze Star for his role in the defense of Rauwiller. His story is goes beyond this tragic Thanksgiving Day 1944 encounter. Glenn experienced the reality - the horror of Nazism as a 'Ward of the State' for almost 6 months. Nazi Germany perfected high volume extermination. He witnessed and survived the Götterdämmerung like finale from within, during the time of greatest peril for the POW. In our era, some claim the death camps and many excesses of Nazism are fables or gross exaggerations. Not Glenn.
The eyes of my heart read with clarity the text of a 'historical fiction' citation. Your indulgence on this matter is requested. The following Medal of Honor award does not exist. Yet the fabrication is genuine where it matters most. The deeds behind the text are real and meritorious and remain:
'Above and beyond the call of duty.'
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863 has awarded in the name of the Congress the Medal of Honor to:
Glenn D. Chapman
United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 24 November 1944 at Rauwiller France and while interned as a Prisoner of War during the period 24 November 1944 to 3 May 1945.
Rank: First Lieutenant, Forward Artillery Observer
Organization: 156 Field Artillery Battalion, 44th Infantry Division
Lt. Chapman and other soldiers from the 2nd Bt. 71st Regiment armed only with small arms defended the building which served as the battalion’s command post against a surprise and overwhelming onslaught by enemy infantrymen and tanks from the Panzer Lehr Division. Encircled and greatly outnumbered, the enemy attacked the Rauwiller post with machinegun, machine pistol, grenade fire and point-blank Panther tank 75mm cannon fire at ranges as close as 10 yards. Despite this hail of fire, the defenders aggressively fought off advancing enemy elements. By his calmness, tenacity, and fortitude, Chapman inspired his fellow defenders to continue the unequal struggle. Only when severely wounded and defenseless did Chapman and the other defenders finally surrender. For the duration of his internment Chapman demonstrated unselfish and exemplary conduct and leadership by example through his care for and devotion to another Rauwiller P.O.W. Chapman cared for this comrade who was debilitated and unable to perform most tasks for himself. Chapman, malnourished and exposed, often carried this comrade to prevent his execution as a straggler during the many long and taxing forced marches in the cold winter and spring of 1945. Chapman maintained a secret diary, knowing if discovered by his captors, meant his instant execution. After the war, this diary proved valuable to the US Army. Recaptured after the destruction of his vehicle resulted in his separation from the American Army rescuers at Oflag XIII - Hammelburg, Chapman continued in his refusal to vary from the Code of Conduct under enemy interrogation and pressure. Chapman reflects great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.