Pinder, John, born 06-06-1912 in McKees, Pennsylvania, joined the Army from Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, and by June 6, 1944 was serving as a technical fifth grade in the 16th Infantry Regiment, nickname “New York’s Own” , 1st Infantry Division , nicknamed “The Big Red One” under Major General Terry de la Messa Allen. Sixteen members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor. The division lost 3.616 killed in action, 15.208 wounded in action, and 664 died of wounds. On that day, he participated in the Allied landings near Colleville sur Mere, Normandy. Despite being twice wounded, Pinder refused medical attention and continued to gather communications equipment in order to establish a radio link on the beach before receiving a third and fatal wound. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor seven months later, on January 04-01-1945.
Death and burial ground of Pinder, John Joseph “Joe”
Pinder, killed on his 32nd birthday, age 31, was buried in Grandview Cemetery, Florence, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Army barracks in Zirndorf, Germany, were named Pinder Barracks in his honor. Although these barracks were abandoned in the years after 1999, the name Pinder remained by decision of the city administration as the newly formed city district “Pinder Park”
Technician Pinder’s official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, near Colleville-sur-Mer, France. On D-Day, Technician 5th Grade Pinder landed on the coast 100 yards off shore under devastating enemy machinegun and artillery fire which caused severe casualties among the boatload. Carrying a vitally important radio, he struggled towards shore in waist-deep water. Only a few yards from his craft he was hit by enemy fire and was gravely wounded. Technician 5th Grade Pinder never stopped. He made shore and delivered the radio. Refusing to take cover afforded, or to accept medical attention for his wounds, Technician 5th Grade Pinder, though terribly weakened by loss of blood and in fierce pain, on 3 occasions went into the fire-swept surf to salvage communication equipment. He recovered many vital parts and equipment, including another workable radio. On the 3rd trip he was again hit, suffering machinegun bullet wounds in the legs. Still this valiant soldier would not stop for rest or medical attention. Remaining exposed to heavy enemy fire, growing steadily weaker, he aided in establishing the vital radio communication on the beach. While so engaged this dauntless soldier was hit for the third time and killed. The indomitable courage and personal bravery of Technician 5th Grade Pinder was a magnificent inspiration to the men with whom he served.