One of the last Medal of Honor recipients from World War II is being remembered this afternoon after succumbing to cancer earlier this week.
Vernon McGarity, 91, of Bartlett, died Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Visitation is from 1:30 p.m. today until the time of the service at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, 5668 Poplar Ave. Burial with full military honors will follow the 2:30 p.m service. A complete obituary from the funeral home’s website can be found here.
Born Dec. 1, 2912, in Hardin County, McGarity joined the army in November 1942. By Dec. 16, 1944, the first day of the Battle of the Bulge, he was serving near Krinkelt, Belgium as a technical sergeant in Company L of the 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division. McGarity returned to his unit after being wounded early in battle and directed soldiers through an intense battle. He rescued wounded men, attacked the advancing Germans and retrieved supplies. His squad was captured after they ran out of ammunition.
According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, McGarity was one of only 80 living Medal of Honor recipients until his death.y received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman nearly a year later. A complete description of his citation can be found on the Army’s list of Medal of Honor recipients, available here.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, McGarity received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and two Belgium awards.
McGarity was preceded in death by his wife, Ethelene McGarity, and his daughter, Sharon McGarity. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Vernon Ray McGarity and Lee McGarity.
In lieu of flowers and/or food, the family requests donations to Ronald McDonald House, 535 Alabama, Memphis, TN, 38105.