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January 18, 1995

World War II's Most Highly Decorated US Physician

Author Affiliations

University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha
US Army Helicopter Aeromedical Evacuation "DUSTOFF" Historian Las Vegas, Nev

JAMA. 1995;273(3):182-183. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520270016010

To the Editor.  —Recent commemoration of the Normandy invasion makes it timely to call attention to John Erbes, MD, who was the most highly decorated US physician in World War II. Dr Erbes, a 1939 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, was a battalion surgeon in the Second Armored Division and saw front-line duty in French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, northern France, Belgium, and Germany. His awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Bronze Star, as well as two unit awards. The latter include the Presidential Unit Citation, given to his battalion for breaking the Siegfried line near Aachen on October 4, 1944, and the Belgian Fourragere, given for the division's decisive role in turning back the German spearhead at its deepest penetration in the Battle of the Bulge. This was the first time the latter award was

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