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Biography

Homer L. WiseHomer 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

1917February 27 - Born in Baton Rouge, LA
1931Works at odd jobs in Texas
1941Enlists U.S. Army
1942Meets Madolyn DiSesa future wife on Cape Cod.
Sgt Wise was stationed at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod.
1943January - 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
1944January 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
1945February 12 - Married to Madolyn DiSesa
July 21 - Honorable Discharge
Employed in Stamford CT until 1947
1947Returns to military service
Director of Army Recruiting Stamford, CT
1949Son Jeffrey born Stamford, CT (deceased 1990)
1952 - 1954Germany U.S.Army assignment
1955 - 1959Recruiting Director Stamford, CT
May 27, 1958 - One of six Honorary Pall Bearers at the Dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
1961 - 1963France U.S.Army assignment
1963 - 1965Ft. Devens, MA U.S.Army assignment
1965 - 1966Italy U.S.Army assignment
1966December 21 - Retired
1974Died Stamford, CT age 57.
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Homer L. Wise
Citation

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Historical Articles

"The Story of an Infantryman"

Homer Wise Portrait As the battle tested veterans of Company L, 142 Infantry, and 36th Division probed the outskirts of Magliano, Italy on the morning of June 14, 1944 they knew that the German soldiers facing them were strongly entrenched. The men of the 36th had met this enemy before, in Africa, on the bloody beaches of Salerno and in all the bitter battles in Italy.

Leading one of the platoons was a slim Tech Sergeant known to his men as "Blackie" was Homer L. Wise and he had served with the 36th Division since its inception.

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Reals Honor Roll Call

statue Master Sergeant Homer L. Wise, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, fell into a crowded foxhole and roared, "Don't give me any crap about signed orders! Just gimme an M-1 and a batch of anti-tank grenades so I can get us to hell outa this mess!"

Wise was a ragged scarecrow in bullet-stitched uniform, drenched in the blood of his comrades. The captain, who happened to be sharing the shallow pit at the moment, took these matters into consideration when he handed over the rifle and the grenades.

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Captain Eric Anderson fighting in Italy 1944

statue March 19, 1944. I joined the 142d Infantry when it came back from the Rapido River. We camped at the base of Mount Vesuvius, which blew its top that night. We had about a foot of ashes on us the next morning. We had to move to a new area.

Two days later, we had a parade, and Gen. Clark gave Charles Kelly the Congressional Medal of Honor. The sergeant standing next to me said, "I'm going to get one of those on the next trip up. He was awarded it just north of Rome. His name was Sergeant Homer Wise.

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Hero Fiance is on Way Home to Her

Homer Wise PortraitSTAMFORD ADVOCATE November 29, 1944.
The most excited family in Stamford today was that of Madolyn DiSesa, whose finance, Sgt. Homer L. Wise, just received the Medal of Honor "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity."

His achievement was in battle June14, at Magliano, Italy, in which he fired everything at the enemy from a machine gun to a gun mounted on a tank. Wise, 27, was decorated by Lieut. Gen. Alexander M. Patch in the presence of five general officers.

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Major Everett S. Simpson and Homer L. Wise

Homer Wise PortraitThe following is quote of Major (later Major General) Everett S. Simpson describing the action, published in T-Patch to Victory, 36th Infantry Division France-Germany-Austria, by Colonel Vincent M. Lockhart, published in 1981.
"The regiment was attacking the mountainous area near the town of Tendon, and we were assigned Hill 827 as our objective.The Tendon-LeTholy road was our line of departure. We assumed we were in safe territory, but I did have the sense enough to send out patrols to the flank and front.

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The Stars and Stripes December 7th, 1944

Homer Wise PortraitA rare article about Sgt. Homer L. Wise in Stars and Stripes by staff writer Dan Regan on December 7th, 1944.

When Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch, commander of the Seventh Army, pinned the Congressional Medal of Honor on T/Sgt. Homer L. ("Blackie") Wise and turned to five other general officers and said, "Gentleman, let's give this man a salute," one of the great stories of individual heroism on World War II came to light.

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Copyright © 2011 The Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee, Inc.