Herschel Floyd "Pete" Briles

Herschel  Floyd  "Pete"  Briles

Company C, Tank Destroyer Force

899th Tank Destroyer Battalion    

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Waveland Cemetery

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Herschel Floyd "Pete" Briles

Born:  February 07, 1914 at Colfax, IA

Entered Service in the US Army from Fort Des Moines, IA

Earned The Medal of Honor During World War II For heroism November 20, 1944 at Scherpenseel, Germany

Died:  July 17, 1994 at the age of 80

The President of the United States
in the name of
The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


Rank And Organization:  Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Co. C, 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion.  Place And Date:  Near Scherpenseel, Germany, 20 November 1944.  Entered Service At:  Fort Des Moines, lowa.  Birth:  Colfax, Iowa.  GO No.:  77, 10 September 1945.


"He was leading a platoon of destroyers across an exposed slope near Scherpenseel, Germany, on 20 November 1944, when they came under heavy enemy artillery fire. A direct hit was scored on 1 of the vehicles, killing 1 man, seriously wounding 2 others, and setting the destroyer afire. With a comrade, S/Sgt. Briles left the cover of his own armor and raced across ground raked by artillery and small-arms fire to the rescue of the men in the shattered destroyer. Without hesitation, he lowered himself into the burning turret, removed the wounded and then extinguished the fire. From a position he assumed the next morning, he observed hostile infantrymen advancing. With his machinegun, he poured such deadly fire into the enemy ranks that an entire pocket of 55 Germans surrendered, clearing the way for a junction between American units which had been held up for 2 days. Later that day, when another of his destroyers was hit by a concealed enemy tank, he again left protection to give assistance. With the help of another soldier, he evacuated two wounded under heavy fire and, returning to the burning vehicle, braved death from exploding ammunition to put out the flames. By his heroic initiative and complete disregard for personal safety, S/Sgt Briles was largely responsible for causing heavy enemy casualties, forcing the surrender of 55 Germans, making possible the salvage of our vehicles, and saving the lives of wounded comrades."

Citation Courtesy of www.HomeOfHeroes.com


I tell you they have not died,
They live and breath with you,
They walk now--here at your side,
They tell you things are true.
Why dream of poppied sod
When you can feel their breath;
When flowers and soul and God
Know there is no death?

I tell you they have not died,
Their hands clasp yours and mine,
They are now but glorified,
They have become divine.
They live, they know, they see,
They shout with every breath,
"All is Eternal Life,
There is no death."

Windom Earle


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD
(1872-1918) Canadian Army
(Written 2 May 1915 near Ypres, Bulgium.)

Go Back To Germanna Colonies Family History Home Page.

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Created on ... November 7, 2003
by SgtGeorge (George W. Durman)
for one of the many Germanna cousins
who have made the ultimate sacrifice
and who have "passed the torch" on
to us.  We will hold it high -- we shall
break faith with those who have
died, and we will not sleep.
(Copyright © 2003 by George W. DURMAN.)