Family, state leaders remember Knoxville native Medal of Honor recipient
Sgt. Troy McGill was awarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts in World War II
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - People from across the state and nation met at the Veterans Memorial at World’s Fair Park to rededicate parts of I-40 to Sgt. Troy McGill Tuesday morning. The sergeant was given the Medal of Honor for his efforts in World War II.
Steve McGill, Sgt. McGill’s great-nephew, said his demeanor was a lot different on the battlefield than off of it.
“He was really a mild-mannered kind of guy,” Steve McGill said.
“I guess combat brings it out of you,” Troy McGill, his other great-nephew said.
Both of his great-nephews never got to meet him, but they’ve heard plenty of stories about their Medal of Honor relative.
“You wouldn’t think he’d be the one charging out of a foxhole,” Troy McGill said.
On March 4, 1944, Sgt. McGill fought in the Los Negros Islands in the Pacific. During the fight, he ran out of ammunition and decided to run at the Japanese troops to fight them hand-to-hand. Sgt. McGill was ultimately killed, but not without a fight.
“It’s pretty intense,” his great-nephew Troy McGill said. “The number of dead Japanese they found around his foxhole really impressed me. I’m like, ‘ya know he took a lot of them with him.’”
When they got to McGill’s body in the foxhole, soldiers found over 100 dead Japanese soldiers around him.
Nearly 80 years later, his family paid tribute to his efforts overseas.
“It’s just an honor to have that legacy in your background and just try to live up to,” Steve McGill said.
It’s even more important to live out his legacy when you share a name with him.
“Anytime I’m in a mess, I’m like, ‘woah, what would Troy think of this, ya know?’ That keeps me a little straighter than most,” Troy McGill said.
Both Steve and Troy followed in the family’s footsteps and served in the military. His grand-nephews said it’s great knowing their great uncle will forever be memorialized at the Veterans Memorial and along I-40.
“It’s an honor. It’s a long time coming. I think he would be very honored himself,” Troy McGill said.
Sgt. McGill was 29 years old when he was killed.
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