Highest Award Honors Memory Of Mars Hero
First Congressional Medal of Honor to be presented a member of the India-Burma Theater has been
posthumously awarded to Lt. Jack Knight of the Mars Task Force for gallantry in action in Burma, according to word
received this week from the War Department.
Knight, a native of Mineral Wells, Tex., was a troop commander of the 124th Cavalry of the Mars
The medal will be presented to his father, Mr. Roy Knight, of Weatherford, Tex., by a high-ranking
officer to be selected by the War Department.
LT. JACK L. KNIGHT
Medal of Honor
The Mars troop commander was killed in action in an assault on a strategic hill near Loi Kang,
on the Burma Road, Feb. 2.
His regimental commander, Col. William F. Osborne, veteran of Bataan and Merrill's Marauders,
described Knight's death thusly:
"In more than four years of combat, I have seen many officers fight and die, but Lt. Knight's action
in leading his troop to its objective against strong enemy concentrations is to me the finest example of courage,
valor and leadership of any officer I have ever commanded.
"What Lt. Knight did that day is something for every American to be proud of. It is officers of
Jack Knight's caliber and the troops that follow his kind of leadership that are winning the war - not colonels
The memory of Knight's deeds will linger after him. The hill on which he was killed and buried
is now unofficially called "Knight's Hill." The British are taking steps to perpetuate the name on official
maps of Burma to honor the intrepid Texan.
Knight's exploits took place during the bloodiest fighting of the Burma campaign for the Mars Force.
The objective of the Marsmen was to cut the Burma Road 30 miles below its junction with the Ledo Road.
On the morning of Feb. 2, Knight and his men jumped off at 6:20 a.m. Following a barrage, Knight's
troop moved 1,500 yards through the Hosi Valley jungle, then up a 250-foot slope towards the objective. Only two
Japs were met on the way. Knight killed them both with his carbine.
Knight and his men reached their objective 35 minutes after the
jump-off. The men began to dig in.
Knight reconnoitered the slope at the end of the hill. He spotted a Nip pillbox and grenaded it. He found two
more pillboxes and gave them the same treatment.
Knight called to his men, "Come on up. There's a whole nest of them here." His men obeyed. Knight
found himself in the center of a horseshoe formation of pillboxes. He threw a grenade into his fourth pillbox,
then fired his carbine into it.
Men who later described the scene said Knight acted as if he were out to get every pillbox himself.
A Jap tossed a grenade at the lieutenant. He backed away and waited for it to explode. The burst caught him full in
the face. As he turned around and walked back to Lt. Leo C. Tynan to get more carbine ammunition, the men saw blood
dripping from his face.
A Jap tried to bayonet Knight as he walked past a pillbox. Tynan killed him. Knight took half of
Tynan's ammunition and started forward again. As he broke into a run, he muttered to Tynan, "I can't see."
The troop had caught up with him by then. Concentrated fire came from the pillboxes. Men were
falling all around Knight. He regrouped his squads by arm motions and went out in front again.
He grenaded his fifth Pillbox. A grenade landed nearby and wounded him for the second time. This
time he went down. But as he lay there, he kept shouting encouragement to his men. Lt. Knight's brother, 1st/Sgt.
Curtis Knight, saw his brother fall and ran forward to lead the troop. But he was dropped by a bullet under the heart.
The lieutenant asked one of the men to get his brother back to an aid station. He continued to
encourage his men. Then, on his hands and knees, he started to crawl towards another enemy pillbox. He was hit
by a bullet. It was the end.
Three days later Lt. Jack Knight was buried on the hill he had given his life to capture. His
brother, flown to an evacuation hospital, is now recovering.
Knight's old commanding officer is now in this Theater with G-2. He is Maj. Thomas J. Newton of
Corpus Christi, Tex. The major was commander of F Troop in the 124th Cavalry.
"There were three Knight boys in my troop. Jack, Curtis and Lloyd in that order. Jack and Lloyd
went to OCS but I couldn't persuade Curtis to go. He had just been married and didn't want to leave his wife.
"Jack went to Cavalry OCS at Ft. Riley. Lloyd came out as a Tank
Destroyer officer and I lost
track of him. When Jack received his commission, we naturally wanted him back with us. So he returned and headed
a reconnaissance platoon. Later he became commander of F Troop over here, with Curtis as his first sergeant."
"You know," the major said, "I never was certain which was the best soldier of those three brothers.
Jack's deeds in Burma didn't surprise me, nor did Curtis's. I knew they had it in them. I think the story and the
death of Jack Knight actually is the story of the Knight family."