In Belgium, January 1945, Thomas' platoon was pinned down by withering fire from a German machine gun nest which had allready cut down several of his buddies. Thomas rose from his hiding place on the ground and launched a one-man attack on the German nest.
Unmindful of the hail bullets coming to towards him, which miraculously missed him, Edwards kept running towards the enemy machine while firing all 160 rounds from his automatic weapon until he had completely wiped the nest out. Edwards was decoeatd with the Silver Star for this courageous action.
Later Edwards participated in the colorful ceremony of raising the US National Colors over the historic fortress of Ehrenbreitstein in Germany on the Army Day, 6th of April. "I guess it was the biggest moment in my army life", Edwards said later as he spoke about the thrills of seeing the Stars and Stripes lifted again over the fortress for the first time since it was taken down at the end of the American occupation in 1923. "And then to top this off" Edwards continued, "I spoke and shook hands with General Omar N. Bradley, himself!"
Edwards was on of the combat soldiers picked from each Division in the 12th Army Group under the command of General Bradley to participate in the flagraising ceremony at Ehrenbreitstein, which was recently recaptured by the 69th Division.
Thus on that day Pfc. Thomas F. Edwards stood with an honored platoon of outstanding soldiers of the 12th Army Group. Among the military leaders present there were General Bradley, Lt. General Courtney L. Hedges (1st Army), Lt. General George S. Patton (3rd Army) Lt. General Leonard T. Gerow (15th Army) and Lt. General H. Simpson (9th Army).
After the war, Thomas F. Edwards came home and led a good and happy life with his wife and children, until he died on 31st October, 1997 at the VA hospital in Roanoke, VA.
The 99th Infantry Division arrived in England, 10 October 1944, moved to Le Havre, France, 3 November, and proceeded to Aubel, Belgium, to prepare for combat. The Division first saw action on the 9th, taking over the defense of the sector north of the Roer River between Schmidt and Monschau. After defensive patrolling, the 99th probed the Siegfried Line against heavy resistance, 13 December. The Von Rundstedt attack caught the Division on the 16th. Although cut up and surrounded in part, the 99th held as a whole until reinforcements came. Then it drew back gradually to form defensive positions east of Elsenborn on the 19th. Here it held firmly against violent enemy attacks. From 21 December 1944 to 30 January 1945, the unit was engaged in aggressive patrolling and reequipping. It attacked toward the Monschau Forest, 1 February, mopping up and patrolling until it was relieved for training and rehabilitation, 13 February. On 2 March, 1945, the Division took the offensive, moving toward Keln and crossing the Erft Canal near Glesch. After clearing towns west of the Rhine, it crossed the river at Remagen on the 11th and continued to Linz and to the Wied. Crossing on the 23d, it pushed east on the Koln-Frankfurt highway to Giessen. Against light resistance it crossed the Dill River and pushed on to Krofdorf-Gleiberg, taking Giessen 29 March. The 99th then moved to Schwarzenau, 3 April, and attacked the southeast sector of the Ruhr pocket on the 5th. Although the enemy resisted fiercely, the Ruhr pocket collapsed with the fall of Iserlohn, 16 April. The last drive began on 23 April. The 99th crossed the Ludwig Canal against stiff resistance and established a bridgehead over the Altmuhl River, 25 April. The Danube was crossed near Eining on the 27th and the Isar at Landshut, 1 May, after a stubborn fight. The attack continued without opposition to the Inn River and Giesenhausen when VE-day came.
This website is made out of respect for the victims, the civilians and the veterans of WWII. It generates no financial gain what so ever and it is merely a platform to educate the visitor about WWII.
A big THANK YOU to the United States Army Center of Military History for their help in providing the input for these pages. All pages on this website are constantly being refitted with acurate data and texts and it is an ongoing process.