Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company L, 393d Infantry, 99th Infantry Division. For actions at the Battle of the Bulge near Krinkelt, Belgium.
December 16, 1944
McGarity was born December 1, 1921, in Right, TN, near Savannah.
During the Depression, he worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps before joining the Army in November 1942 at age 21 at Model, TN. After the war, he spent 28 years in the Tennessee National Guard, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. He worked for the Veterans Administration for 35 years, frequently spending time at a Memphis hospital, where he helped veterans secure government benefits.
He died in 2013 at the age of 91. A Savannah, TN, bridge dedicated in 1981 was named the Harrison-McGarity Bridge for cGarity and another Hardin County Medal of Honor recipient, Bolden Harrison.
Citation: He was painfully wounded in an artillery barrage that preceded the powerful counteroffensive launched by the Germans near Krinkelt, Belgium, on the morning of December 16, 1944. He made his way to an aid station, received treatment, and then refused to be evacuated, choosing to return to his hard-pressed men instead. The fury of the enemy's great Western Front offensive swirled about the position held by T/Sgt. McGarity's small force, but so tenaciously did these men fight on orders to stand firm at all costs that they could not be dislodged despite murderous enemy fire and the breakdown of their communications. During the day the heroic squad leader rescued 1 of his friends who had been wounded in a forward position, and throughout the night he exhorted his comrades to repulse the enemy's attempts at infiltration. When morning came and the Germans attacked with tanks and infantry, he braved heavy fire to run to an advantageous position where he immobilized the enemy's lead tank with a round from a rocket launcher. Fire from his squad drove the attacking infantrymen back, and 3 supporting tanks withdrew. He rescued, under heavy fire, another wounded American, and then directed devastating fire on a light cannon which had been brought up by the hostile troops to clear resistance from the area. When ammunition began to run low, T/Sgt. McGarity, remembering an old ammunition hole about 100 yards distant in the general direction of the enemy, braved a concentration of hostile fire to replenish his unit's supply. By circuitous route the enemy managed to emplace a machinegun to the rear and flank of the squad's position, cutting off the only escape route. Unhesitatingly, the gallant soldier took it upon himself to destroy this menace single-handedly. He left cover, and while under steady fire from the enemy, killed or wounded all the hostile gunners with deadly accurate rifle fire and prevented all attempts to reman the gun. Only when the squad's last round had been fired was the enemy able to advance and capture the intrepid leader and his men. The extraordinary bravery and extreme devotion to duty of T/Sgt. McGarity supported a remarkable delaying action which provided the time necessary for assembling reserves and forming a line against which the German striking power was shattered.