During his service in WWI, Thomas received seven medals from four governments: (U.S.) Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, World War I Victory Medal, (France) Légion d’honneur – Chevalier, Croix de Guerre, (Italy) La Croce al Merito di Guerra, (Montenegro) Военная медаль за храбрость (Silver Medal for Military Bravery).
On October 16, 1918, at Còte de Châtillon, Thomas and two other soldiers volunteered to flank and remove a network of machine guns. Thomas’ two team members were killed and he received three wounds in the right thigh. Attacked by approximately 50 German soldiers, Thomas opened fire with his Chauchat automatic rifle, killing or wounding most of them until his gun jammed. Attempting to withdraw, he was wounded a fourth time in the hip and fell unconscious. Awaking, he found himself surrounded by approximately fifteen German soldiers.
Thomas saw his Colt M1911 on the ground nearby. He crawled to it. When the Germans charged with bayonets, he killed four and captured eleven, leading them back to the American line.
His Medal of Honor citation reads:
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.
We honor you, Thomas Neibaur.