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Major John Stopka

Major John P. Stopka

Executive officer of the 3rd Battalion of the 502nd PIR.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major John P. Stopka (ASN: 0-25263), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, in action against enemy forces on 11 June 1944, near Carentan, France. On that date Major Stopka's battalion was engaged in a fierce battle with a numerically superior enemy force for the possession of a causeway leading into Carentan. During the night, the battalion had infiltrated across the last four hotly contested bridges. At about 0530 the battalion came under heavy enemy automatic weapons, mortar and artillery fire, causing casualties at an alarming rate and making the battalion position extremely precarious. Rather than withdraw, the battalion commander issued an order to assault the enemy position with fixed bayonets. Major Stopka, from his position across the road from the battalion commander, was able to coordinate the efforts of the two companies in the assault, but only by exposing himself continuously to the heavy enemy fire. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Major Stopka disseminated the order to the two companies under his control. When the signal for the assault was given, he was the first man to get to his feet and move forward across the road into the open field in front of the enemy positions. Major Stopka's actions in the face of the enemy, and his complete devotion to duty exemplify leadership of the highest order and his conduct set an example to the officers and men under him., inspiring them with the aggressiveness and determination necessary to rout the enemy from their strongly held positions. Major Stopka's gallant leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 101st Airborne Division, and the United States Army.

Major John Stopka on Film

Watch Major Stopka on the following combat film dvds by Combat Reels:

101st Airborne Division in Normandy



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