Thomas N. Merendino ’41


Thomas N. Merendino
Class of 1941
1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, USAFE

Distinguished Service Cross Capt Merendino disembarked from the landing craft in the initial assault wave and with complete disregard for his own safety, hastily organized the men who were struggling in the water and led them through the intense enemy to the shore. Upon reaching the shore, he refused to take cover and again organized an assault group for further advance.

Silver Star for gallantry during the Oran offensive (November 1942), Lieutenant Merendino directed the fire of his self-propelled 105-mm. howitzer upon an enemy stronghold. Observing that this fire failed to dislodge the enemy, Merendino ordered his vehicle to ram the stone wall which the enemy was using as cover. He then dismounted from his vehicle and, with the aid of one man, succeeded in taking twenty prisoners.

Silver Star (Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster) for gallantry during a fire fight near Nicemi, Sicily (July 1943),

During an engagement with enemy forces near Nicemi Sicily in July 1943. Lieutenant Merendino, during a night attack on his position, and without regard for his own safety, demonstrated leadership, devotion to duty, and selfless actions by rescuing wounded occupants of a damaged vehicle in the midst of a large storage area containing high octane gasoline and ammunition. The large ammunition and gasoline supplies, being hit by enemy artillery began to burn and explode, and the men and vehicles trapped in both the area and individual vehicles. The enemy fire grew in intensity and accuracy, as enemy batteries, used the blazing fires to correct and adjust their artillery fires. After aiding the wounded occupants of the vehicle, without the least regard for his personal safety, went to the rescue of his men, who were dispersed in the staging area.. Time and time again he went through the flaming cauldron to carry out burned and wounded men. He continued his rescue efforts with the aid of several of his men until all the casualties and salvageable equipment were removed to safety and the enemy fires were suppressed.

Bronze Star for heroic achievement In Tunisia (March 1943).

For heroism in ground combat in Tunisia in March 1943 against an attacking superior-sized enemy force. During a movement to contact a superior enemy force was contracted and immediately began an aggressive counter-attack. Although exposed to heavy direct and indirect fires, Lieutenant Merendino skillfully placed his attached self-propelled howitzers in a strategic position that provided an effective counter-battery fires which were instrumental in breaking the enemy action. The break permitted his unit to withdraw to more favorable terrain and assume a more dominant positioning. Lieutenant Merindino’s valorous actions and quick thinking were key to the minimization of causalities and loss of equipment.

Click Here more about Merendino’s heroism on D-Day