Archer T. “John” Gammon, son of Walter Ashby Gammon and Cordie Sue Evans Gammon, was born September 11, 1918, about six miles north of Chatham, Virginia. Until January 1942 he grew up and worked on the family farm; then, with his parents, he moved to Danville and became a textile worker.
Through Pittsylvania County's Selective Service Board Number 1 in Chatham, he was inducted into the Army at Roanoke, Virginia, March 21, 1942. He was one of four brothers and a sister who served in the armed forces during World War II. After training in Arkansas and California, he was sent to France via Glasgow, Scotland, in July 1944. He was made a Staff Sergeant five months later.
Near Bastogne, Belgium, Jaunary 11, 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge, he led a platoon of Company A, 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division, through hip-deep snow up two hundred yards of open hillside. When his unit was pinned down by German fire from the strategic woodland which was its objective, he advanced alone and disrupted the enemy's resistance. Singlehandedly, with rifle and grenades he silenced two machine guns, killed nine Germans, and forced a Tiger Royal tank and supporting infantry into retreat. Having cleared the woods, he was struck, at a range within twenty-five yards, by a direct hit from the armored vehicle's eight-eight millimeter gun and was instantly killed. His relentless and daring attack, in complete disregard for all thoughts of personal safety, enabled his platoon to continue its advance.
Gammon had previously been awarded the Bronze Star. His final incident of valor was the basis for his receiving posthumously the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Note: Research assistance is provided by Calvin Gammon, Danville, VA.
This webpage is sponsored by Mitchells Publications and the Sims-Mitchell House, Chatham, Virginia.
Copyright © 2002 Patricia B. Mitchell.