Homer Lee Wise was born on February 27, 1917 in Baton Rouge Louisiana. He was a quiet and unassuming man that felt rather uncomfortable in the limelight and would rather fade into the background then receive accolades for his accomplishments.
Ironically his accomplishments were so huge that it took a lot of work to stay relatively unknown.
Homer grew up in the south with a love of hunting and fishing.
His eighth grade education was possibly in part the reason for enlisting in the army at age 24 in 1941. Homer entered combat by 1943.
By age 27, Sgt. Wise received our country's most coveted Medal; The Congressional Medal of Honor. Within one year he also received 11 other medals including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and 3 Purple Hearts. He was one of the most decorated infantrymen of World War II.
His bravery unbound
An excerpt from the actual citation signed by President Roosevelt
"Magliano, Italy - In the summer of 1944 was the scene of intensive resistance by well trained and experienced German soldiers. Fierce machine gun fire hit the 142 Infantry Regiment. The day was hot and artillery fire had set the dry grass ablaze. In the heat of the battle Staff Sergeant Homer L. Wise, squad leader of Company L performed heroically with amazing agility and initiative. While his platoon was pinned down by intensive fire, he and three others went into the fire-swept area to bring a wounded buddy to safety. A German officer and two men challenged him he killed all three. Later he obtained and fired a rifle grenade launcher upon enemy positions causing them to flee. He obtained a Browning Automatic Weapon, and neutralized the frontal fire, allowing his men to move forward. He boldly climbed on a tank, remedied a stoppage in the turret machine gun and fired 750 rounds into the enemy's positions, inflicting numerous casualties, neutralizing their fire, and allowing the battalion to continue…"
While stationed at Camp Edwards in 1942 on Cape Cod, Homer met Madolyn DiSesa, his future wife. Madolyn was from Stamford, Ct and for the next 30 years they would make their life together in Stamford, living in a lovely home and having one child, a son named Jeffrey in 1949. Sadly Jeffrey passed away in 1990 at age 40.
Homer worked for the army as a recruiter here in the US and held varied positions for the army in Europe based on his rank and medal before moving completely into civilian life. As a civilian he worked humble jobs; in a bank as a mail supervisor and as a waiter for extra money.
The most notable thing about Homer was his quiet pride. He knew what he had accomplished but really didn't want to talk about it. When asked, "How many did you have to kill? Homer would reply jokingly, all of them!" He would tell his family and friends, "I really would like to slip into society without too much attention." He was so determined to keep his hero status a little known fact that Jeffrey only learned of his father's accomplishments after a classmate had revealed it to him.
Jeffrey was 12.
Despite his attempts to go unnoticed, Homer did receive very distinguished honors and recognition for his bravery.
He was one of 6 honorary pall bearers at the dedication of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 1958 presided over by President Eisenhower, and he was a guest of the President of the United States at the Inaugurations of Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Johnson.
Once a hero always a hero.
In civilian life, he performed heroically as well. One evening he noticed an intruder trying to break into a neighbor's home; he grabbed the would-be burglar and held him for police all the while uncomfortable not knowing what to do with the thief until the police arrived.
Homer's life is a statement of humanity. He saved lives for reasons of camaraderie and loyalty. His intentions were instinctive and pure.
Homer died at age 57 of congestive heart failure. His widow passed on in 2002. He is survived by two nephews and two nieces. The location of his medals is unknown.
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The History of Sgt. Wise Timeline
|1917||February 27 - Born in Baton Rouge, LA|
|1931||Works at odd jobs in Texas|
|1941||Enlists U.S. Army|
|1942||Meets Madolyn DiSesa future wife on Cape Cod.|
Sgt Wise was stationed at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod.
|1943||January - Engaged to Madolyn|
April through September - training with 36th Infantry Division North Africa
September - Enters combat for the first time landing at Salerno
Serves in Italy and France until November 1944
|1944||January 7 - Awarded Silver Star [Italy]|
June 14 - Awarded Medal of Honor
June 18 - Awarded Purple Heart for Shrapnel Head Wound
August 16 - Awarded Bronze Star
August 22 - Awarded Purple Heart for Sniper Bullet Wound
September 22, 1944 - Awarded Purple Heart for Sniper Bullet Wound
|1945||February 12 - Married to Madolyn DiSesa|
July 21 - Honorable Discharge
Employed in Stamford CT until 1947
|1947||Returns to military service|
Director of Army Recruiting Stamford, CT
|1949||Son Jeffrey born Stamford, CT (deceased 1990)|
|1952 - 1954||Germany U.S.Army assignment|
|1955 - 1959||Recruiting Director Stamford, CT|
May 27, 1958 - One of six Honorary Pall Bearers at the Dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
|1961 - 1963||France U.S.Army assignment|
|1963 - 1965||Ft. Devens, MA U.S.Army assignment|
|1965 - 1966||Italy U.S.Army assignment|
|1966||December 21 - Retired|
|1974||Died Stamford, CT age 57.|