134th Infantry Regiment
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
134th Infantry Regiment, Company G
James Ira Spurrier, Jr., son of James Ira Sr. and Ruby Lee (Nuckles) Spurrier, was born December 14, 1944 in Castlewood, Virginia. He incorrectly listed his name on the enlistment paperwork when he volunteered for the Army September 25, 1940, and as a result was known throughout his Army career as Junior J Spurrier. He was sent to the Pacific Theater in April 1942 and fought there until he was wounded in New Guinea during late 1943. After returning to the U.S. to recuperate, he was sent to the ETO at his own request in June 1944.
Junior J Spurrier joined Company G, 134th Infantry Regiment from the 86th Replacement Battalion July 19 and was promoted from Private to Staff Sergeant, Squad Leader on July 26, 1944. He was wounded in action September 21, 1944. According to the Aid Station report, he received shrapnel wounds to both hands, but he remained on duty. He suffered a blast injury December 9 and returned to duty December 20, 1944. On April 24, 1945, he was transferred to Company K, 134th Infantry Regiment and returned to the United States a short time later. He was discharged from the U.S. Army on June 19, 1945.
Staff Sergeant Junior J Spurrier was awarded our nation's 2 highest military decorations for valor, the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. He died February 25, 1984 and is buried at Mountain Home National Cemetery, Johnson City, Tennessee.
Congressional Medal of Honor
The President of the United States of America, in the
name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Staff
Sergeant Junior James Spurrier, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry
and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while
serving with Company G 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, in
action against the enemy at Achain, France, on 13 November 1944. At 2:00 p.m.,
Company G attacked the village of Achain from the east. Staff Sergeant Junior
Spurrier armed with BAR passed around the village and advanced alone. Attacking
from the west, he immediately killed 3 Germans. From this time until dark, Staff
Sergeant Spurrier, using at different times his BAR and M-1 rifle, American and
German rocket launchers, and a German automatic pistol, and hand grenades,
continued his solitary attack against the enemy regardless of all types of small
arms and automatic weapons fire. As a result of his heroic actions he killed an
officer and 24 enlisted men and captured two officers and two enlisted men. His
valor has shed fresh honor on the U.S. Armed Forces.
War Department, General Orders No. 18, 15 March 1945
Distinguished Service Cross
The President of the United States of America,
authorized by act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the
Distinguished Service Cross to Staff Sergeant Junior James Spurrier, (ASN:
13018254), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with
military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company G, 2nd
Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, in action against
enemy forces on 16 September 1944, in France. On the morning of 16 September
1944, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment, was given the mission
of taking a hill south of Lay St. Christopher, France. This hill was known to be
a strong point, the enemy being firmly entrenched in dugouts and trenches. As
the company advanced in the attack, enemy machine guns and other automatic
weapons open fire from the right flank. Sergeant Spurrier, Squad Leader, Company
G, immediately mounted a nearby tank destroyer and manned its .50 caliber
machine gun. Advancing toward the enemy, he opened fire, killing and wounding
many and causing the remainder to retreat to a dugout. Sergeant Spurrier then
jumped off the vehicle, advanced on the dugout, and throwing several hand
grenades into it, killed all of its occupants. He then re mounted and cleaned
out a second enemy dugout in the same manner. Again remounting the tank
destroyer in spite of heavy concentrations of enemy machine gun, mortar, and
artillery fire, Sergeant Spurrier resume his precarious position on the vehicle,
firing the .50 caliber machine gun. In all he took 22 prisoners before reaching
the summit of the hill. The extraordinary courage displayed by Sergeant
Spurrier; his outstanding heroism and supreme devotion to duty exemplify the
highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great
credit upon himself, the 35th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, Third U. S. Army, General Orders No.103, 1944
The following are some articles that have been published about S/Sgt Spurrier:
"Sergeant in Paris - The French paid more attention to his Croix de Guerre than they did to his Congressional Medal" - YANK the Army Weekly Magazine, May 25, 1945
"Dizzy Dean of the Doughs, The Story of S/Sgt James J Spurrier, Jr." - American Legion Magazine, October 1947
"Sergeant Spurrier Soldier of the Month" - Army Life and Recruiting News, December 1947
"Celebrating the life of James Ira Spurrier, Jr." - Virginia Joint House Resolution No. 322, March 1, 2022
"Russell County Soldier was called a one-man army" - Cardinal News, Virginia, July 1, 2022
Thanks to Frank F Kilgore for much of this information. He is an author currently writing a book about the coal fields of Appalachia, featuring S/Sgt Spurrier.