Robert L. Hempstead
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Captain (Infantry) Robert Louis Hempstead (ASN: 0-414341), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Commanding Officer, Company M, 3d Battalion, 442d Regimental Combat Team, attached to the 34th Infantry Division, on 23 August 1944, near San Columbano, Italy. When it was discovered that the Germans were maintaining a patrol base in San Columbano on the south side of the Arno and on the left flank of the 3d Battalion, Captain Hempstead volunteered to lead a combined Company M and L patrol to wipe out the enemy nest. The patrol went out with a forward observer from Cannon Company. Aided by fire from Cannon Company the patrol cleared out one enemy strongpoint, killing eight Germans and wounding several others. As the patrol worked its way beyond San Columbano, it was ambushed near a canal and caught in a crossfire from two enemy machine guns, supported by mortars. Captain Hempstead, seeing the patrol was trapped, left his covered position and opened fire with a Tommy Gun, drawing the enemy's attention to him. He was instantly killed by a burst of machine-gun fire, but by creating a diversion, he enabled his remaining men to withdraw to better positions and call down artillery fire on the enemy.
Company: Company M
Battalion: 3rd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Division: 34th Infantry Division