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b. 17/05/1898 Sharon, Idaho. d. 23/12/1942 Walla Walla, Washington.


DATE OF MOH ACTION: 16/10/1918 Landres-et-St. Georges, France.


Thomas Neibaur had a very strong family heritage and connection in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning with his great-grandfather, Alexander Neibaur (1808–1883). Alexander was from Alsace-Lorraine, a graduate of medical and dental university training in Berlin, and was fluent in several languages.


Neibaur enlisted into the Idaho National Guard on March 30, 1917, a week before the United States declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1917. The Army inducted him into federal service on April 8, and he then served in the Rocky Mountain northwest, guarding tunnels and railroad bridges until October 1917 when he and his 2nd Idaho Infantry Regiment was ordered to Camp Mills, Long Island. There he became an automatic rifleman in newly organized 41st Division of western states guardsman. Later moving to Camp Merritt, New Jersey the 41st Division deployed to France where it became a replacement division for the other units of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF).


Private Thomas Neibaur spent several months in field hospitals recovering from his wounds. His last wound by a German machine gun bullet remained in his hip the rest of his life. He was one of the first soldiers in the Army to be nominated for the Medal of Honor. On February 9, 1919 at the AEF headquarters at Chaumont, France, Gen. John Pershing presented the Medal of Honor to him, along with a dozen other officers and soldiers. Private Neibaur arrived home at Sugar City, Idaho on May 27, 1919 and was welcomed by a throng of some 10,000 people, celebrating a state-wide holiday proclaimed the governor who was in attendance as "Neibaur Day."


n 1928, Neibaur had an accident at the sugar beet factory where his arm was severely mangled in a cutting machine. By 1939, in the last dire years of the Depression, Neibaur was destitute. He received a small pension from his Medal of Honor, and was a clerk for Works Progress Administration (WPA). He was unable to feed and care for his family on his low income. US Senator William Borah of Idaho attempted to pass a law in the US Congress promoting Neibaur to the rank of major in the regular army, and then placing him on the retired list. This failed. Discouraged by his misfortune, Neibaur mailed his Medal of Honor and other decorations to Congress in Washington stating that "I cannot eat them." Local newspapers covered the story. Three days later he secured a position as a night security officer at the state capitol in Boise. He died of tuberculosis aged 44 in 1942.




On the afternoon of 16 October 1918, when the Cote-de-Chatillion had just been gained after bitter fighting and the summit of that strong bulwark in the Kriemhilde Stellung was being organized, Pvt. Neibaur was sent out on patrol with his automatic rifle squad to enfilade enemy machinegun nests. As he gained the ridge he set up his automatic rifle and was directly thereafter wounded in both legs by fire from a hostile machinegun on his flank. The advance wave of the enemy troops, counterattacking, had about gained the ridge, and although practically cut off and surrounded, the remainder of his detachment being killed or wounded, this gallant soldier kept his automatic rifle in operation to such effect that by his own efforts and by fire from the skirmish line of his company, at least 100 yards in his rear, the attack was checked. The enemy wave being halted and Iying prone, 4 of the enemy attacked Pvt. Neibaur at close quarters. These he killed. He then moved alone among the enemy Iying on the ground about him, in the midst of the fire from his own lines, and by coolness and gallantry captured 11 prisoners at the point of his pistol and, although painfully wounded, brought them back to our lines. The counterattack in full force was arrested to a large extent by the single efforts of this soldier, whose heroic exploits took place against the skyline in full view of his entire battalion.



Block 2, Lot 38, Grave 3

Thomas Croft Neibaur