SILVER STAR MEDAL - Posthumously awarded.

Name: Mestas, Felix B., Jr.
Date of birth: August 23rd, 1921 (La Veta/Colorado, United States)
Date of death: September 29th, 1944 (Monte Battaglia/Province of Bologna, Italy)
Rank: Private 1st Class
Unit: Company G, 350th Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division, U.S. Army

Action: Felix B. Mestas, Jr., 37354821, Private First Class, Company G, 350th Infantry Regiment. For gallantry in action on 27, 28 and 29 September 1944, on Mount Battaglia, Italy. On 27 September 1944, Company G, occupied Mount Battaglia with orders to hold this strategic height at all costs. Private Mestas, a BAR gunner, and his assistant dug a position on the forward slope of the hill. Within an hour after its occupation, Mount Battaglia received the first of many severe counterattacks. As the Germans crept up the hill. Private Mestas stood upright in his position and fired the BAR from his hip. His accurate fire dispersed the enemy and inflicted casualties upon them. The next day the Germans counterattacked three times but each time Private Mestas helped to repel the attacks. On the afternoon on the third day, the enemy launched a particularly heavy counterattack, and due to the rain and fog, were able to approach close to our positions. With utter disregard for the withering hail of fire directed at him, Private Mestas again fired his BAR from a standing position in order to obtain a better field of fire. When his weapon jammed, he calmly repaired the stoppage under the protecting rifle fire of his assistant gunner. Occasionally he paused to throw grenades, and after expending his meagre supply of grenades, resorted to the use of rocks. As it became evident that their position soon be overrun, Private Mestas ordered his assistant gunner to run to the safety of the reverse slope of Mount Battaglia while he protected his withdrawal with his BAR. The only soldier now on the forward slope of Mount Battaglia, Private Mestas calmly fired clip after clip from his BAR into the fanatical enemy ranks who were charging up the hill massed almost shoulder to shoulder. Private Mestas killed twenty-four enemy soldiers before he was killed. His gallant stand held off the enemy long enough for our men to reform and to repel the attack. His characteristic disregard for danger and tenacious determination to hold his position at all costs served as a guide to the fighting spirit of our men and is typical of the valor and self-sacrifice of the infantry soldier.