First Lieutenant John Joseph Tominac

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John Joseph Tominac, First Lieutenant

Birthplace: Conemaugh, Somerset, PA, USA
Death: Died
Place of Burial: Arlington, Arlington, VA, USA
Managed by: Marvin Caulk, (C)
Last Updated:

About First Lieutenant John Joseph Tominac

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant (Infantry) John Joseph Tominac, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 12 September 1944, while serving with Company I, 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, in action in an attack on Saulx de Vesoul, France First Lieutenant Tominac charged alone over 50 yards of exposed terrain onto an enemy roadblock to dispatch a three-man crew of German machine gunners with a single burst from his Thompson machinegun after smashing the enemy outpost, he led one of his squads in the annihilation of a second hostile group defended by mortar, machinegun automatic pistol, rifle and grenade fire, killing about 30 of the enemy. Reaching the suburbs of the town, he advanced 50 yards ahead of his men to reconnoiter a third enemy position which commanded the road with a 77-mm SP gun supported by infantry elements. The SP gun opened fire on his supporting tank, setting it afire with a direct hit. A fragment from the same shell painfully wounded First Lieutenant Tominac in the shoulder, knocking him to the ground. As the crew abandoned the M-4 tank, which was rolling down hill toward the enemy, First Lieutenant Tominac picked himself up and jumped onto the hull of the burning vehicle. Despite withering enemy machinegun, mortar, pistol, and sniper fire, which was ricocheting off the hull and turret of the M-4, First Lieutenant Tominac climbed to the turret and gripped the 50-caliber anti-aircraft machinegun. Plainly silhouetted against the sky, painfully wounded, and with the tank burning beneath his feet, he directed bursts of machinegun fire on the roadblock, the SP gun, and the supporting German infantrymen, and forced the enemy to withdraw from his prepared position. Jumping off the tank before it exploded, First Lieutenant Tominac refused evacuation despite his painful wound. Calling upon a sergeant to extract the shell fragments from his shoulder with a pocketknife, he continued to direct the assault, led his squad in a hand grenade attack against a fortified position occupied by 32 of the enemy armed with machineguns, machine pistols, and rifles, and compelled them to surrender. His outstanding heroism and exemplary leadership resulted in the destruction of four successive enemy defensive positions, surrender of a vital sector of the city Saulx de Vesoul, and the death or capture of at least 60 of the enemy.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 20 (March 29, 1945)

Action Date: 12-Sep-44

Service: Army

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: Company I

Battalion: 3d Battalion

Regiment: 15th Infantry Regiment

Division: 3d Infantry Division

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First Lieutenant John Joseph Tominac's Timeline

April 29, 1922
Conemaugh, Somerset, PA, USA
July 11, 1998
Age 76
Arlington, Arlington, VA, USA