William Arhtur Sirmon did not actually receive the Silver Star until years after WWI. It was formerly known and awarded to him as the Citation Star. The Citation Star originated from an Act of Congress on July 9, 1918 and is incorporated into the center of the Silver Star. William Arthur Sirmon had his Citation Star converted into the Silver Star in the 1930’s.
The Silver Star was converted from the Citation Star by the Secretary of War in 1932. It is awarded to a person who is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force. It was also awarded upon letter application to Commander, to individuals serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army who received a citation for gallantry in action in World War I published in orders issued by a headquarters commanded by a general officer.
Excerpt from That’s War:
“September 9th. In Support. When I was but a boy, I used to look with awe upon a man in the uniform of Uncle Sam or one arrayed in the attire of that mysterious land “out west.” I read of the deeds of these men and no poet’s imagination ever ascribed greater courage to any hero than I bestowed upon the men whose dress was so suggestive to me, of the great things men do.
On September 4th I slept all day because I had patrolled all night, and when I awoke I made a report of my patrol, that I thought very unsatisfactory because I had no prisoners to deliver. Today I received an order from the Division Commander, the wording of which does justice to the heroic deeds of my heroes of childhood. My house of cards has fallen! A man, just a plain ordinary man, does his best-and that seems to constitute heroism. Just duty, always duty, performed in spite of obstacles, seems to be all that can be done. No man could fail his leadership with soldiers like mine! Here’s the Order:
82nd Div. Headquarters, American E.F.
8 September 1918.
1. The Division Commander takes great pleasure in announcing to the Command the splendid conduct of 1st Lieutenant W.A. Sirmon, 325th Inf., and the men of his patrol, on the night of Sept. 3rd and 4th. While in command of a patrol in the enemy’s territory, and under fire from front and flank by Machine Guns, Lt. Sirmon led his patrol against the Germans, making his attack with a daring and coolness worthy of the best traditions of the service. The Germans were driven away from their guns and retreated in great haste.
The Division Commander hopes that the daring action of this officer and his men will furnish an example to be followed by all patrols sent out from Division.
By Command of Major General Burnham,
Lieut. Col. General Staff,
Chief of Staff.
Major, A.G.D., Adjutant”