Images: Valor 24: 1st Lt. Donald K. Schwab
Medal of Honor candidate 1st Lt. Donald K. Schwab was born Dec. 6, 1918, in Hooper, Neb. He joined the U.S. Army upon graduation from high school. Schwab distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on Sept. 17, 1944. At approximately, 2 p.m. near Lure, France, Schwab led his company over 400 yards of bare, coverless ground against a formidable line of machine-guns and machine-pistols. Meeting intense, grazing fire, which burst without warning from a fringe of woods directly to his front, Schwab extricated his men from the attempted ambush and led them back to a defiladed position. Ordered to overwhelm the enemy line, he organized his men into a skirmish line and, with indomitable courage, again led them forward into the lethal enemy fire. When halted a second time, Schwab went from man to man to supervise collection of the wounded and organize the withdrawal of his company. From defilade, he rallied his decimated force for a third charge on the hostile strong-point, worked his way to within 50 yards of the Germans and ordered his men to "hit the dirt." While automatic weapons fire blazed around him, he rushed forward alone, firing his carbine at the German foxholes, straight for the key enemy machine pistol nest which had spark plugged German resistance and caused heavy casualties among his men. Spotlighted through the mist and rain by enemy flares, he reached the German emplacement. Ripping off the shelter-half cover of the hostile firing pit, he clouted the German gunner on the head with his carbine butt and dragged him back, through a hall of fire, to friendly lines. His action so disorganized hostile infantry resistance that the enemy withdrew, abandoning his formidable defensive line. Schwab’s gallantry and determination to carry on related in breaking a powerful German position. First Lt. Schwab served with the U.S. Army until Oct. 26, 1945. Upon exiting the service Schwab returned to Hooper, Neb. and began a farming career. He was later employed with the postal service in Nebraska until retirement. In Hooper, Schwab was highly active in the church and community. He also enjoyed sports and played on various local softball and basketball teams. Donald Schwab died Feb. 19, 2005, at the age of 86. Terry Don Schwab will be accepting the Medal of Honor award from President Barack Obama on March 18, 2014, on behalf of his father. Terry is an orthopedic surgeon and graduated the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is married to Kim and is a proud father to two sons and two daughters.