Joe R. Hastings was born in Malvern, Ohio, but lived most of his life in Magnolia. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Company C, 386th Infantry, 97th Infantry Division.
On Nov. 18, 1945, PFC Hastings fought gallantly during an attack against strong enemy forces that were defending Drabenderhole, Germany, from well dug in positions. As squad leader of a light machine-gun section, PFC Hastings braved direct rifle, machine-gun, 20mm and mortar fire which whizzed by him as he rushed forward over 350 yards of open rolling fields to reach a covered position from which he could return fire on the German troops.
From his vantage point, he knocked out the crews of an enemy 20mm gun and machine-gun. He then concentrated his light machine-gun on the enemy riflemen, driving them out of their positions. This provided a shield for the 1st Platoon to reorganize and remove its wounded to safety.
Observing that the 3rd Platoon, he advanced firing his weapon from his hip, while disregarding the bullets that whipped past him, until the assault had carried 175 yards to the objective. He and the riflemen that he was leading then killed and wounded many of the enemy and knocking out two more machine-gun nests.
PCF Hastings, by his fearless outstanding leadership and unrelenting determination to wipe out the strong well dug in Germany forces, cleared the path for his company's advance into Drabenderhole.
Hastings lived through that battle, but unfortunately was killed four days later while again supporting the 3rd Platoon. PFC Joe R. Hastings was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant and fearless actions above and beyond the call of duty. He should not be forgotten.
Please keep all of our military personnel and their families in your prayers.
Charles R. Pearson
Chaplain, Malvern Legion Post 375