Distinguished Service Cross
On December 16, 1944, 18 members of a reconnaissance platoon held off a battalion of crack German storm troopers in the Belgian hamlet of Lanzerath. Few history books note that their gallant stand gave Allied forces time to begin mounting the defense that eventually won the famous Battle of the Bulge. One of the platoon members was Will James, who after the war slipped into oblivion for nearly 4 decades. During that time he underwent numerous painful surgeries as a result of his war wounds. Not until 1981, through the efforts of U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. ONeill and columnist Jack Anderson, was he awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism.