John Towle Cleveland Chapter


The Story of PVT John R. Towle



   A 19 year old Cleveland, Ohio paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, 1-504th Regiment, Company C made his only combat jump into Holland on September 17, 1944 during the Market Garden operation.

   John was the second of five children blessed upon William and Mary Towle. He was eager to serve his country, and volunteered to become a paratrooper. His pride of being a paratrooper was evident in a letter to his Mother, " When I send your wings home, Mother, I hope that you will be as proud of them as I will be. I am now Airborne and a trooper."

   After several days of horrific battling and harrowing experiences, the "All Americans" had achieved their objective of capturing the Nijmegen bridge. On September 21, 1944, the Germans launched another counterattack with infantry supported by tanks. Recognizing the dire consequences for the mission and fellow paratroopers trapped between a dike road and the Waal River, John braved heavy enemy resistance and fired his bazooka several times at the German tanks and advancing enemy troops effectively causing them to retreat. Preparatory to firing again, a mortar shell exploded near Private Towle mortally wounding him. As a result of Private Towle's brave actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

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