Medal of Honor Tour
Loyalty to your comrades, when you come right down to it, has more to do with bravery in battle than even patriotism does. You may want to be brave, but your spirit can desert you when things really get rough. Only you find you can't let your comrades down and in the pinch they can't let you down either.
New WWII and WWI Tour!
From Theodore Roosevelt’s landing at Utah Beach during WWII to the “Lost Battalion” in WWI, this ten-day tour takes an in-depth look at some of the most outstanding Medal of Honor actions in both World Wars. The tour brings them together in a smooth, exciting itinerary ranging from the D-Day beaches to the Battle of the Bulge, the Colmar pocket, and the site of Audie Murphy’s heroism near Holtzwihr in France.
The tour “narrative” will delve into the broader events while placing the Medal of Honor actions in context. We will be able to share the experiences of individual events at the very sites where these acts of bravery and sacrifice occurred.
Edward G. Lengel, Ph.D., the Chief Historian at the National Medal of Honor Museum, will be leading this tour. Ed previously worked at The National World War II Museum and the White House Historical Association, and was a professor at the University of Virginia. A professional author, speaker and battlefield tour guide, he has written over fifteen books on American and Irish history that focus on uncovering the human experience of warfare, drawing inspiration from John Keegan’s classic work, The Face of Battle. He has made frequent television and radio appearances on networks such as The History Channel, SiriusXM, and National Public Radio.
- Utah Beach: We will set foot where Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. is known to have said “We will start the war from right here. . .” upon landing.
- Omaha Beach: The stories of heroism by Technician John J. Pinder, Private Carlton W. Barrett and Staff Sgt. Walter D. Ehlers will inspire and astound you.
- Chatel-Chéhéry: Walk in the very footsteps of Sergeant Alvin C. York, a former conscientious objector, who single handedly killed about 20 Germans and captured 132 others.
- Bastogne: In the Battle of the Bulge, there were twenty-two Medal of Honor recipients. We will study these men and the places where they fought.
- Colmar Pocket area: We will visit several outstanding lesser-known Medal of Honor action sites from late 1944-early 1945 and trace the steps of Audie Murphy to the site of his action near Holtzwihr.
DAY 1 Depart for Paris
Travel to Paris to arrive the next morning
DAY 2 Normandy
After our arrival at Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris, we immediately depart for Normandy. Your historian, Ed Lengel, will give the narrative background of the American troops that landed at Utah and Omaha Beaches. This will include the debarking from landing craft and making it up the beaches—especially Omaha—against fierce German resistance. Besides the hail of machine gun fire and bursting artillery shells, the GIs had to contend with barbed wire, minefields and other obstacles such as Belgian Gates and Tetrahedra.
DAY 3 Normandy
Moving inland from the beach, we will stop by Amfreville, near Ste-Mere-Église, where Private Joe Gandara voluntarily advanced alone to destroy three hostile machine guns before he was fatally wounded. At nearby La Fiere bridge across the Merderet River, Private First Class Charles DeGlopper landed with his glider infantry regiment only to find his platoon surrounded. He volunteered to support his comrades by fire from his automatic rifle while they attempted a withdrawal. Alone with his heavy weapon he fought against the enemy, killing many, until he was cut down.
At Grandcampe, Frank Peregory attacked a squad of enemy riflemen with hand grenades and a bayonet. Later, he single-handedly forced the surrender of 32 more riflemen, captured the machine gunners, and opened the way for his battalion to advance. On June 14, 2nd Lieutenant John E. Butts was painfully wounded near Orglandes. He was wounded gain two days later spearheading an attack to establish a bridgehead across the Douve River. Despite this new wound, he refused medical aid and remained with his platoon. Then, one week later, Butts led an assault on an important and stubbornly defended hill studded with tanks, antitank guns, pillboxes, and machine gun emplacements, and protected by concentrated artillery and mortar fire. Under his leadership, the strong point was taken at the cost of his life.
Tonight, we stay in Bayeux.
DAY 4 Omaha Beach
We move to Omaha Beach where Technician John J. Pinder landed on the coast 100 yards offshore under enemy machine gun and artillery fire Carrying a vitally important radio, he struggled towards shore in waist-deep water. Only a few yards from his craft he was hit by enemy fire and was gravely wounded. Despite his wound, he made shore and delivered the radio. Pinder was wounded again while trying to establish radio communications on the beach. Though he was successful in his mission, he was mortally injured after being struck by enemy fire a third time.
First Lieutenant Jimmie Monteith landed at Omaha with the initial assault waves and continually moved up and down the beach organizing men for further assault. Monteith led two tanks, on foot, through a minefield and into firing positions and directed them in the destruction of several enemy positions. He then rejoined his company and under his leadership his men captured an advantageous position on a cleared hill. Monteith was killed while overseeing the defense of his newly won position after being surrounded by enemy forces.
Private Carlton W. Barrett waded ashore through neck-deep water at St. Laurent-sur-Mer. Barrett, working with fierce determination, saved many lives by carrying casualties to an evacuation boat lying offshore. Barrett not only did his assigned mission as a guide, he also carried dispatches while under enemy fire, gave aid to the wounded, and served as a leader for other men.
Staff Sgt. Walter D. Ehlers also landed at Omaha Beach. On June 9-10 near Goville, he led his squad against a strongly defended enemy strong point, personally killing 4 of an enemy patrol. Turning his attention to 2 mortars protected by the crossfire of 2 machine guns, Ehlers led his men through this hail of bullets to silence a mortar section, killing 3 men himself. He then knocked out another machine gun single-handed. The next day, Ehlers covered the withdrawal of his platoon as it weathered intense enemy fire. Receiving wounds then treatment, he refused to evacuate and returned to lead his squad.
This afternoon we depart for Paris where we will spend the night.
DAY 5 Colmar
This morning we travel to Nancy by train. We meet our motor coach at the Nancy station and proceed to Belleau Wood Revisiting the American offensive of autumn 1918, we go to the steeply wooded valley outside of Apremont where the “Lost Battalion,” gained immortality for its epic six-day defense.
We visit Medal of Honor action sites of: recently deceased Medal of Honor recipient Charles Coolidge (Belmont); 442nd Regimental Combat Team sites (Barney Hajiro, Robert Kuroda, Joe Nishimoto, James Okubo, George Sakato; Bruyeres, La Houssiere, Biffontaine); the incredible tank action involving Clyde Choate (Bruyeres); Rock of the Marne, 30thRegiment, 3rd Division, October-December 1944 (Lucian Adams, William Leonard, Russell Dunham, Charles Murray, Wilburn Ross; St. Die, Kaysersberg, St. Jacques); Colmar Pocket (Garlin Conner, Houssen; Gus Kefurt, Bennwihr; Jose Valdez, Rosenkranz; Keith Ware and Eli Whiteley, Sigolsheim); Ellis Weicht, 36th Division, December 1944 (St. Hippolyte).
DAY 6 The Colmar Pocket and Argonne
We continue the story of the 3rd Division at the Colmar Pocket. We spend today tracing the steps of Audie Murphy to the site of his action near Holtzwihr. In the Colmar Pocket area, we will visit several outstanding lesser-known Medal of Honor action sites from late 1944-early 1945 as U.S. forces, particularly the Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Rock of the Marne, 3rd Infantry Division, drove through Alsace/Lorraine toward the German border, enduring heavy combat on the road to the Colmar Pocket.
DAY 7 Argonne
Today we reposition to the Argonne area. We then go to Chatel-Chéhéry where we walk in the very footsteps of Sergeant Alvin C. York, a former conscientious objector, who single handedly killed about 20 Germans and captured 132 others. Our time in the Argonne concludes at the Musée de Romagne 14-18, a collection of artifacts discovered on the battlefields. Following lunch at the museum we will take a short driving tour, visiting sites associated with future president Harry S. Truman and George S. Patton.
DAY 8 Bastogne
In the Battle of the Bulge, there were twenty-two Medal of Honor recipients. We travel to Bastogne, where we will study these men and the places where they fought. Each stop will give you the opportunity to appreciate their actions and heroism. You will see how these young men, many without combat experience, applied their Army training and self-determination to make decisions that enabled them to achieve a victory that would impact the lives of millions.
DAY 9 Bastogne
We continue our visits to the area around Bastogne and the places where the Medal of Honor recipients fought. The 16-mile perimeter around Bastogne is our focus today. We visit the most important sites associated with the siege and the epic counter-offensive. From Noville, where elements of the 101st Airborne first encountered the Germans, we travel around the perimeter to see the surviving foxholes around the town of Foy, the site of the Christmas Day attack that almost broke the perimeter, and Assenois where George S. Patton’s Third Army broke the siege lines. We then follow the American counterattack from Bastogne, finishing up at Houffalize, the final objective of the 101st during the January counter-offensive.
DAY 10 Frankfurt, Germany
This morning we depart for Germany. En route to Frankfurt, we stop for a scenic luncheon cruise on the Rhine River. After we disembark, it is a relatively short drive to the Frankfurt area and our hotel. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner and everyone can share the stirring memories from the tour.
DAY 11 Transfer to Frankfurt Airport
Transfer to Frankfurt Airport for flights home.