Truman Kimbro, a relatively unknown WW2 Hero, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor 73 years ago on May 24, 1945.
Here is a personal chronicle of my initial discovery of his amazing story that needs to be shared.
In October, 2007, I traveled to Texas to visit my former Bible College roommate and his family.
At that time, James & Cindy Sanders were living in Madisonville, a small town located halfway between Dallas & Houston.
While waiting to rendezvous with James & Cindy for a luncheon gathering, I decided to walk around the small town of Madisonville to make some personal observations.
I noticed the lettering on one of the buildings.
“Truman Kimbro Community Center”
I greeted area residents during my morning walk through the town of 8000 and asked a multiple people this same question…
“Who Was Truman Kimbro?”
No one in the town could provide an answer to my repeated inquiries.
Smart phones were not commonplace at that time, so I was limited to the acquired knowledge I attempted to gain during my walking tour.
Being a history buff, I visited the Madison County Museum located a few blocks away.
A large number of artifacts on Texas Rangers, Longhorn Steers, as well as other cultural exhibits were on display.
I quickly noticed a soldier’s uniform on display in the center of the 1-room museum that had served as the Town Bank years ago.
There at the Madison County Museum is where I found the answer to my question of the day:
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Truman Kimbro was working as a farm hand in Madisonville, Texas when he enlisted in the United States Army on December 2, 1941.
He arrived in Europe in October, 1943 with the 2nd Battalion. He trained for 10 months in Northern Ireland for the Normandy Invasion. He landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
Six months later, while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, he was killed on December 19, 1944 while performing his assigned mission as a demolition specialist.
Five months later, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on May 24, 1945 for his actions. The official citation reads:
“On 19 December 1944, as scout, he led a squad assigned to the mission of mining a vital crossroads near Rocherath, Belgium. At the first attempt to reach the objective, he discovered it was occupied by an enemy tank and at least 20 infantrymen.
Driven back by withering fire, Technician 4th Grade Kimbro made 2 more attempts to lead his squad to the crossroads but all approaches were covered by intense enemy fire. Although warned by our own infantrymen of the great danger involved, he left his squad in a protected place and, laden with mines, crawled alone toward the crossroads.
When nearing his objective he was severely wounded, but he continued to drag himself forward and laid his mines across the road. As he tried to crawl from the objective his body was riddled with rifle and machine gun fire. The mines laid by his act of indomitable courage delayed the advance of enemy armor and prevented the rear of our withdrawing columns from being attacked by the enemy”.
I was greatly inspired by reading this citation for his amazing gallantry. Yet, my heart was saddened because so many people in the modern era of his small hometown of Madisonville, Texas were totally unaware of his amazing heroism!
While in this East Texas town, I was privileged to speak to the High School Football Team that my roommate’s son, Daniel Sanders, played linebacker for during his senior year.
As part of my pre-game speech, I posed the same question to the football team and the coaching staff…
“Who Was Truman Kimbro?”
None of the 50+ Madisonville Mustangs nor members of the coaching staff knew the answer. I then shared his inspiring story and read his Medal of Honor citation, challenging them to play to their potential with a maximum effort in honor of this fallen hero from their small town.
Daniel & his fellow teammates won their District Game that evening in a convincing, high-scoring manner, 62-48.
Every Memorial Day weekend, I think back to the uniform on display in the Madison County Museum.
Since 2007, I have continued to be on “The Intentional Way” to raise awareness for this Medal of Honor recipient.
His inspirational story needs to be chronicled.
His heroic deed needs to be remembered…
I hope to visit his grave one day in Belgium as part of the #1 item on my “Bucket List”, which is visiting the site of the Normandy Invasion.
He landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.
We salute you, Truman Kimbro, on this Memorial Day Weekend, and beyond.