Hays County Commissioners Court Proclaims May 24 as ‘2nd Lt. John A. Decker Day’ to Honor Courageous War Hero
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – The Hays County Commissioners Court proclaimed Tuesday, May 24, as 2nd Lt. John A. Decker Day in Hays County and was honored to witness the reissuance of the war hero’s medals to his sister, Marilyn Mitchell.
Lt. Decker served with the Second Battalion, First Marines, in combat operations against the Empire of Japan during WW II in the South Pacific. He was killed in action September 18, 1944 and was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. A native of Wimberley, he was the son of long-time County Judge Charles M. Decker.
“We want to honor all our service members,” said Hays County Assistant Veteran Services Officer Miles Nelson, “but Lt. Decker was a hero among heroes and we thank the Court for honoring him.” Nelson noted that Marilyn Mitchell was assisted by officials at Marine Base Quantico in having the medals reissued.
The citation for Lt. Decker’s Silver Star states, “When his entire battalion was held up by a strongly emplaced enemy pillbox on 16 September, Second Lieutenant Decker courageously volunteered to neutralize it and, leading a small patrol on this hazardous mission, succeeded in destroying two hostile machine guns with their crews. On the following day he led his rifle platoon in a furious assault against the ridge north of the airport and, upon discovering that an enemy machine gun farther up the crest was\ inflicting heavy casualties upon his flanking unit, daringly advanced alone under heavy fire and destroyed the hostile position with grenades. During a severe enemy counterattack that same night Second Lieutenant Decker was killed as he arose to throw a grenade at an advancing Japanese. His aggressive fighting spirit and unwavering devotion to duty were an inspiration to his men and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”
With the Court and family members looking on, Marine Gunnery Sergeant Arthur Abrego, Jr. and Staff Sergeant David Forrest of 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, presented the medals to Mrs. Mitchell. “He was a wonderful brother and I don’t want anyone to forget him. He sure knew how to tease his little sister,” she said.