#imnohero: Maurice L. Britt, Jr., US Army, Medal of Honor
Maurice Britt was born on June 29, 1919, in Carlisle, Arkansas. He was commissioned a 2d Lt of Infantry through the Army ROTC program at the University of Arkansas in June 1941, and played professional football with the Detroit Lions during the 1941 season, going on active duty in December 1941. Lt Britt joined L Company, 3rd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division, serving at Fort Lewis, Washington, and at Camp Pickett, Virginia, before landing at Casablanca, French Morocco, during Operation Torch in November 1942. After the North Africa campaigns, he landed with his unit in Sicily on July 10, 1943, Salerno, Italy, on September 19, 1943, and at Anzio, Italy, on January 22, 1944. Capt Britt was badly wounded at Anzio, and was evacuated back to the United States in February 1944. He was medically retired from the Army on December 27, 1944, and then returned to the University of Arkansas to study law. Maurice was elected Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas and served from 1966 to 1970, and later served as the Arkansas District Director for the Small Business Administration from 1971 to 1985. Maurice Britt died on November 26, 1995, and was buried at the Little Rock National Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Disdaining enemy hand grenades and close-range machine pistol, machinegun, and rifle, Lt. Britt inspired and led a handful of his men in repelling a bitter counterattack by approximately 100 Germans against his company positions north of Mignano, Italy, the morning of 10 November 1943. During the intense fire fight, Lt. Britt’s canteen and field glasses were shattered; a bullet pierced his side; his chest, face, and hands were covered with grenade wounds. Despite his wounds, for which he refused to accept medical attention until ordered to do so by his battalion commander following the battle, he personally killed 5 and wounded an unknown number of Germans, wiped out one enemy machinegun crew, fired 5 clips of carbine and an undetermined amount of Ml rifle ammunition, and threw 32 fragmentation grenades. His bold, aggressive actions, utterly disregarding superior enemy numbers, resulted in capture of 4 Germans, 2 of them wounded, and enabled several captured Americans to escape. Lt. Britt’s undaunted courage and prowess in arms were largely responsible for repulsing a German counterattack which, if successful, would have isolated his battalion and destroyed his company.