Hildebrand, Harry

Harry Hildebrand was born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1896. By  June 1917, Sergeant Hildebrand and the 1st Infantry Division were in France as the first American forces to join the Allied Forces against Germany. Sergeant Hildebrand was a member of Company C, 3rd Machine-Gun Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st DIvision. The 1st Infantry Division had their first engagement with the enemy at the small town of Cantigny, France. During this 30 day battle, the Americans proved that they could fight and achieve results. The Battle of Soissons was to be the second major engagement for the 1st Infantry Division. During this battle, lasting from 18 to 24 July 1918, Sergeant Hildebrand went forward beyond the front line, exposed to fire of enemy snipers, repaired and put into action an abandoned enemy machine-gun. Later, his platoon commender was seriously wounded and the platoon was disorganized by direct artillery fire. Sergeant Hildbrand took command, reorganized the platoon, gathered reinforcements and protected a dangerously exposed flank of the infantry. Sergeant Hildebrand continued to lead the machine-gun platoon with the attacking battalion until he was seriously wounded. For his valorous actions, Sergeant Harry Hildebrand was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.