Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2003, is designated by this site, to celebrate our Kiowa County Veterans, present and past, that stood on that “line in the sand” defending all of us, and advancing the cause of freedom world wide. They joined their brothers and sisters across the nation to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America”.
Among our many soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coast guard is one man, who described himself as “just and ordinary Joe”, who preformed an extra-ordinary feat.
Jack Lemaster Treadwell was born in Ashland, Ala., March 30, 1919. His family moved to Snyder while he was a child. He graduated from Snyder, Oklahoma High School in 1937 during the depression as Hitler was gathering strength in Europe. He attended Southwestern State College, Weatherford, Okla. in 1937 and 1938. He graduated from the University of Omaha, Nebraska in 1940.
Jack was a farm boy, who didn’t want to go to war, but when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, throwing this country into a World War, he knew he had to enlist and entered the army as a private. He was assigned to Oklahoma’s famed 45th Division. After training, Jack Treadwell was sent to Europe. He came under fire for the first time at Alsace. He remembers being terribly scared and the worse thing was seeing a dead body for the first time.
He rose through the ranks from Private to Captain during combat in WWII. Believed to be the nation's most highly decorated man in the Armed Forces, he was cited for the Medal of Honor near Nieder Wurzbach, Germany, March 18, 1945, while serving as commander of Fox Company, 180th Infantry, 45th Division. He was a First Lt. at the time.
His citation, presented by President Harry S. Truman in the White House in October 1946, reads as follows:
"The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
“TREADWELL, JACK L. Rank and organization:
Captain, U.S. Army, Company F, 180th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division. Place
and date: Near Nieder-Wurzbach, Germany, 18 March 1945. Entered service at:
Snyder, Okla. Birth: Ashland, Ala.
G.O. No.: 79, 14 September 1945.
Citation: Capt. Treadwell (then 1st Lt.), commanding officer of Company F, near Nieder-Wurzbach, Germany, in the Siegfried line, single-handedly captured 6 pillboxes and 18 prisoners. Murderous enemy automatic and rifle fire with intermittent artillery bombardments had pinned down his company for hours at the base of a hill defended by concrete fortifications and interlocking trenches. Eight men sent to attack a single point had all become casualties on the hare slope when Capt. Treadwell, armed with a submachinegun and hand grenades, went forward alone to clear the way for his stalled company. Over the terrain devoid of cover and swept by bullets, he fearlessly advanced, firing at the aperture of the nearest pillbox and, when within range, hurling grenades at it. He reached the pillbox, thrust the muzzle of his gun through the port, and drove 4 Germans out with their hands in the air. A fifth was found dead inside. Waving these prisoners back to the American line, he continued under terrible, concentrated fire to the next pillbox and took it in the same manner. In this fort he captured the commander of the hill defenses, whom he sent to the rear with the other prisoners. Never slackening his attack, he then ran across the crest of the hill to a third pillbox, traversing this distance in full view of hostile machine gunners and snipers. He was again successful in taking the enemy position. The Germans quickly fell prey to his further rushes on 3 more pillboxes in the confusion and havoc caused by his whirlwind assaults and capture of their commander. Inspired by the electrifying performance of their leader, the men of Company F stormed after him and overwhelmed resistance on the entire hill, driving a wedge into the Siegfried line and making it possible for their battalion to take its objective. By his courageous willingness to face nearly impossible odds and by his overwhelming one-man offensive, Capt. Treadwell reduced a heavily fortified, seemingly impregnable enemy sector. “
Seeing his actions, his company rejoined him. He was still in shock and just realizing the odds had been against him to survive. There were 18 Germans in those 5 pillboxes.
In WWII, Jack was wounded 4 times, commissioned on the battlefield in Germany, captured 300 German soldiers and received many decorations. Col. Treadwell also served in Vietnam where he made over 100 parachute jumps. He participated in three campaigns in Vietnam: the Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase 5, Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase 6 and the Tet 1969 Counteroffensive. During the campaigns in Vietnam he was Chief of Staff of the America Division and later commanded the 11th Infantry Brigade.
It was while recuperating in France from his most serious wound (a ricochet through his neck and chest) he met his wife Maxine, an Army nurse.
During combat in WW II Col. Treadwell received eight campaign ribbons. They represent Sicily, Salerno, Naples, Foggia, Rome, Arno, Southern France, Rhineland Central European, and Alsace campaign. During the fighting at Anzio he received a battlefield commission as second lieutenant. He rose from private to captain during WW II.
Col. Treadwell, in addition to the Medal of Honor, has received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, three awards of the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldiers' Medal, Bronze Star with "V" device for valor and two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters, two awards of the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Senior Parachutist Badge. He has also been awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Gold Star, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star.
After more than 33 years service, Colonel Jack T. Treadwell retired Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1974 in retirement ceremonies held at the Ft. Jackson Officer's Open Mess at 10:30 a.m.
Major General William H. Blakefield, commander, Readiness Region II, will present Col. Treadwell with the Legion of Merit, third Oak Leaf Cluster for exceptional meritorious conduct from July 1972 through February 1974, while assigned as the Senior Army Advisor, 120th Army Command, U.S. Army Readiness Region III. Col. Treadwell will also be presented a Certificate of Appreciation from the Chief of Staff, U. A. Army.
After visiting relatives in Snyder, Lawton, and Duncan, Okla., Col. Treadwell and his wife, the former Maxine Johnson of Mooresville, Ind., settled in Okla. where they planned to raise horses. The Treadwell's have three daughters: Mrs. John L. Carson and Mrs. John P. Floir whose husbands were officers in the Army and Tracee Ann.
Colonel Jack L. Treadwell died in December, 1977 from open-heart, bypass surgery.