(May 23, 2013) Retired Lt. Col. Vernon McGarity, a Medal of Honor recipient who later served 28 years in the Tennessee Guard, died Tuesday night at the age of 91.
As a technical sergeant with the 393d Infantry, 99th Infantry Division, McGarity was wounded in an artillery barrage near Krinkelt, Belgium, on Dec. 16, 1944. He received treatment but returned to battle.
McGarity rescued two wounded soldiers, immobilized a tank, replenished ammunition under heavy fire and destroyed a German machine gun. His actions helped the 99th hold its position until reinforcements arrived. Though outnumbered five to one, it inflicted casualties by a ratio of eighteen to one.
President Harry S. Truman, a former Missouri Guardsman, awarded the Medal of Honor to McGarity in October 1945. McGarity's name is on display in the Medal of Honor alcove located inside the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
McGarity was born on Dec. 1, 1921, in Hardin County, Tenn. He lived in Barlett, a Memphis suburb, and worked for the Veterans Administration after the war. He is survived by a son, Ray.
Funeral services will be held on May 25, at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery located at 5668 Poplar in Memphis. Visitation begins at 1:30 p.m. until service time at 2:30 p.m. Burial with military honors will follow.
In lieu of flowers and/or food, the family requests donations to Ronald McDonald House, 535 Alabama, Memphis, Tenn., 38105.