COLE, ROBERT G. (1915-1944). Robert G. Cole, Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on March 19, 1915. He entered service at San Antonio. Lieutenant Colonel Cole was a battalion commander of the 101st Airborne Division when they parachuted into France on D-Day (June 6, 1944). He was cited for "gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life" near Carentan, France, on June 11, 1944. He was personally leading his battalion in an attack on four bridges when the entire unit was pinned down by intense enemy rifle, machine-gun, mortar, and artillery fire. After an hour of the devastating fire from well-prepared and heavily fortified positions, which had inflicted numerous casualties, he issued orders to attack with fixed bayonets. With complete disregard for his own safety, he personally led the assault from in front of his troops. He charged on and led the remnants of his group across the bullet-swept ground and into the enemy position. His heroic action so inspired his men that a secure bridgehead across the Douve River was established. Cole was killed three months later, on September 18, 1944, by a sniper during "Operation Market Garden" while taking the bridge at Best, Holland. His mother, Mrs. Clara H. Cole, received his posthumous Medal of Honor while his wife and twenty-nine-month-old son looked on. He is buried in the American Battlefields Monuments Commission Cemetery in the Netherlands.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863-1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973). C. Ryan, A Bridge Too Far (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.