Born Jan. 3, 1919, Alois “Al” Mand grew up on a farm near Silica with his five brothers and four sisters.
Two of his sisters are still alive (as of Armed Forces Day on May 16, 2020)—Gen Kopplin, who lives in Watertown, and Ginny Schneider, who lives between St. Peter and Silica, not far from where the family farm was located.
Upon completion of his eighth grade education at St. Peter Parochial School, he worked on the family farm until his enlistment into the U.S. Army on Oct. 5, 1940. Patriotism ran in the family, as four of his brothers and three of his brothers-in-law also answered their country’s call to duty.
Al lived through the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”—The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, and, of course, World War II.
Following is a copy of his citation for earning the Distinguished Service Cross.
“Alois J. Mand, a member of the Legion of Valor, was presented the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy on April 30, 1945, at Okinawa. His citations read as follows: While an assault platoon was preparing to advance, the enemy launched a desperate counterattack, the brunt of which fell upon the attached machine gun section, of which Sergeant Mand was a squad leader. During the action the section leader was killed, a gunner and assistant gunner were wounded and one of the machine guns was put out of action by enemy fire. The rifle platoon leader and a majority of his riflemen also became casualties.
(Please see the November 5 issue of the Tri-County News for more on this story.)
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