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John Littleton Ahearn (30 November 1914 in Brooklyn – 23 June 2004 in Phoenix) was a American First Lieutenant in the United States Army during World War II. He also was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross which was awarded for having distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism against an armed enemy in circumstances which do not justify the award of the Medal of Honor.


Distinguished Service Cross citationEdit

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Armor) John L. Ahearn (ASN: 0-1011621), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action against a hostile force while serving with Company C, 70th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Group, on 6 June 1944 at Normandy, France. First Lieutenant Ahearn fearlessly led his company to the beach, his tank being the second to land on H-Hour. Although the enemy defenses were nearly impenetrable, he continued forward through a blown gap in the seawall in pursuit of the enemy. At this point his tank struck a mine and was disabled. However, with utter disregard for his own personal safety, he dismounted under heavy enemy fire to make a foot reconnaissance to observe the enemy, who were close to his front. When so engaged, he heard the cries of distress of an infantryman who had been seriously injured by an anti-personnel mine about forty yards inside a mine field. Although he knew that this area was heavily mined and had seen an aid man wounded in attempting to reach the other man, he ran recklessly, and without fear, to the man's assistance and was himself seriously wounded by the explosion of a mine. Realizing the danger involved in his rescue, he ordered members of his tank crew not to venture into the field to rescue him, but threw him a rope and pulled him to safety. First Lieutenant Ahearn's actions throughout the entire operation reflect great credit upon himself, and his conduct was in accordance with the highest traditions of the armed forces of the United States.[1]


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