Staff Sergeant James J. Tomm of 19 Dean Street, Norwood, is shown as he received congratulations from Major General Charles L. Mullins, commander of the 25th “Tropic Lightning” Division in the Philippines. Sergeant Tomm, whose gallantry during the recent Luzon campaign earned him both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star, has just received the medals from General Mullins in a formal Regimental ceremony.
Company E. 161st Infantry Regiment, of which Sgt. James Tomm of 19 Dean Street, Norwood, is a member, has received a Presidential Citation for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy.
Sgt. Tomm who has been overseas for a year and a half, was reported wounded in action on March 15, 1945. He entered the service in June, 1943, «and received his training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia and Fort Ord, California. He played football in High School and was a sports writer for the Free Press.
In a letter received by his parents, Wednesday, Sgt. Tomm notified them he has received the Silver and Bronze Stars.
The citation of his company reads as follows:
“Company E, 151st Infantry Regiment, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy. On January 24, 1945, the 161st Infantry Regiment assaulted the town of San Manuel, Pangasinan, Luzon, Philippine Islands, making the main effort with the 2d Battalion. The Japanese defense was framed about dug-in medium tanks used as pill boxes, covered by automatic weapons and mortars. For three days, Company E assaulted the stubbornly defended positions and by the night of January 26th had suffered 34 battle casualties.
“On January 27th, Company E advanced to the main highway running east-west through the town and were then halted by an emplaced tank and field piece covered. by automatic weapons fire. By now the company had 52 casualties, and all platoons were led by platoon sergeants. The company dug into a position offering little concealment, and with elements of the anti-tank company and a section of heavy machine guns attached for flank security, preparations were made to resume the offensive at dayllght.
LAUNCH ‘BANZAI’ ATTACK
“About midnight, in bright moonlight, the Japanese launched a banzai attack against the salient held by Company E. The attacking force consisted of 14 medium tanks, one light tank and numerous foot soldiers. The Japanese advanced rapidly, firing 47mm cannon and machine guns at point-blank rouge. Company E opposed the assault with two 37 mm. AT guns, AT grenades and rockets, one 50-calibre machine gun, and three 30-calibre machine guns in addition to rifles.
“The- tanks were hit repeatedly but continued the advance, overrunning the forward position and crushing men and weapons. The foot elements engaged in savage hand-to-hand combat, continued to fight for three hours before the enemy survivors withdrew. At dawn, on January 28th, it was found that 10 medium tanks, one light tank and approximately 50-foot soldiers had been destroyed at a cost of only seven casualties to Company E, making a total of 59 casualties for the San Manuel engagement.
“On the morning of January 28, the 161st Infantry Regiment resumed the attack and secured the remainder of the town, against negligible resistance. The courageous stand of Company E met and turned back the first Japanese tank counter-attack in the Luzon Campaign.
“The valor and skill of Company E, 161st Infantry Regiment, and its attachments, and the superb courage displayed by each man reflect the highest traditions of the armed forces of the United States,”
(All articles originally published in the Norwood Messenger)