Lt. Robert Craig
USCIS Memphis Field Office
Second Lieutenant Robert Craig was born in Scotland on June 7, 1919. In September 1923, he and his parents, brother and sister settled in Toledo, Ohio. As a young man, he enjoyed playing baseball, football and golf, and, according to a May 1944 press release from the War Department, “spent much of his time tinkering with cars and radios.”
He joined the U.S. Army in February 1941 – 10 months before the United States entered World War II — and received his commission as an officer on December 1, 1942. He left for Europe the next month, serving with the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division during Operation Husky, the code name for the Allied invasion of Sicily.
On July 11, 1943, Lieutenant Craig’s unit was advancing toward Favarotta, Sicily, when fire from a concealed heavy machine gun pinned them down behind a hillcrest. He and Corporal James E. Hill voluntarily left their position and advanced toward the German machine gun. When the Nazi troops spotted Lieutenant Craig, they concentrated the line of fire directly at him. The War Department press release quoted Corporal Hill as saying that Lieutenant Craig “ran head on through the machine gun fire … reached the gun position miraculously unhurt, and, standing over the crew, killed all three of them with his carbine.”
The unit continued to advance and reached a small ridge. As the Americans navigated down the forward slope, they were ambushed by approximately 100 enemy soldiers. “In a gesture typical of him,” Corporal Hill said, Lieutenant Craig put the safety of his men before his own.
His Medal of Honor citation in part reads:
Electing to sacrifice himself so that his platoon might carry on the battle, he ordered his men to withdraw to the cover of the crest while he drew the enemy fire to himself. With no hope of survival, he charged toward the enemy until he was within 25 yards of them. Assuming a kneeling position, he killed 5 and wounded 3 enemy soldiers. While the hostile force concentrated fire on him, his platoon reached the cover of the crest. 2d Lt. Craig was killed by enemy fire, but his intrepid action so inspired his men that they drove the enemy from the area, inflicting heavy casualties on the hostile force.
Lieutenant Craig received his Medal of Honor posthumously on May 26, 1944. He is buried with his parents in Toledo Memorial Park in Sylvania, Ohio.