Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star
Killed in Action, Normandy 1944
Paul Settlemire, from Jonesboro, Arkansas, graduated from Arkansas State in 1941 with a BS in Agriculture and a commission in the Field Artillery. While in college he lettered in basketball and football, and was referred to as "one of the finest football players in the history of the college." Captain Settlemire went on to be "Jonesboro’s No. 1 hero of World War II," with a Silver Star, three Purple Hearts, and our nation’s second highest award for valor in combat: The Distinguished Service Cross.
On 23 April 1943, while assigned to an infantry regiment in North Africa, CPT Settlemire returned from a reconnaissance to discover that his regimental commander and the regimental command post had been surrounded and captured by a German company. He then killed two enemy soldiers and wounded another in single-handed combat in order to escape the enemy encirclement. After breaking out, he ordered 11 men to follow him in an attack on the enemy position, "Then, heroically inspiring all under him, shouting encouragement, he proceeded ahead of his men, under heavy machine gun fire and hand grenades." All of the attacking force either retreated or
were captured -- except for CPT Settlemire and one other individual. These two continued to press the attack, and ultimately effected the rescue of the regimental commander and the destruction or surrender of 150 German soldiers. CPT Settlemire later wrote that the regimental commander, who was a prisoner under enemy observation throughout this period, "kept waving his stagger stick, telling us to shoot the bastards and come and get him, and we did."