Named WW2 Distinguished Service Cross – Liebenstein
Amazing Named WW2 Distinguished Service Cross (John August Liebenstein). Distinguished Service Cross is Robbins Company contract black slot brooch. Medal is period hand engraved with the name “John A. Liebenstein”. Case is not original to this medal, but will be included to the next caretaker for a proper and respectful display of this artifact.
This Distinguished Service Cross was provided to the family posthumously, as John A. Liebenstein was originally listed as Missing in Action in April of 1944, but was ultimately confirmed as Killed in Action by the United States Department of War at the conclusion of WW2 (resulting in the conferring of the Distinguished Service Cross).
Second Lieutenant John A. Liebenstein served with Company K, 349th Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division during WW2. In April of 1944, Liebenstein’s unit was in action against German forces in the area of Minturno, Italy. On April 11, 1944, Liebenstein was commanding a squad of men that had been tasked with carrying out a “prisoner-snatch” patrol. During this patrol, the squad was caught off guard by a German machine gun nest and when Liebenstein attempted to return fire, his weapon jammed. Without another available option, Leibenstein jumped into the machine gun nest (with his jammed weapon) and began fighting the German soldiers hand-to-hand – managing to render the nest silent and dragging a German soldier out of the nest by the man’s neck. After securing the prisoner, Liebenstein attempted to return to the American lines, but was wounded after triggering a hidden German trip mine. Unable to move due to the wounds received from the trip mine and with German mortar fire raining down around his position, Liebenstein ordered his men to not attempt to rescue him. This action bought Liebenstein’s squad the precious time needed to escape. Liebenstein was initially listed as Missing in Action and was believed to have been captured by the Germans. Subsequent searches failed to locate him and he was ultimately confirmed to be Killed in Action at the conclusion of the Second World War. Liebenstein’s burial location in Italy would eventually be discovered in 1949 and his body would be returned to the United States. Liebenstein’s courageous actions and extraordinary heroism on April 11, 1944 earned him, at the cost of his life, the United States Army’s second highest military decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross.
Distinguished Service Cross Citation (Synopsis):
Second Lieutenant John A. Liebenstein (ASN: 0-1322241), United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 349th Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 11 April 1944. Second Lieutenant Liebenstein’s intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 88th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.