William Nave - Lieutenant Colonel

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Date Of Birth: Aug 2, 1903
Date Of Death: Jun 16, 1944
War / Conflict: World War II
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Gold Star Hall - Wall Location: West Wall (by Entrance Door)
Service Ribbons Awarded:
  • Distinguished Service Cross


Year at ISU: 1926

Lieutenant Colonel William "Spike" Lester Nave was born to Clarence Anthony Nave and Elizabeth cable on August 2, 1903. He grew up near Cleveland, Ohio.

He won major letters in Cyclone/Cardinal football in 1923 and 1924.In 1926, he was appointed to West Point Military Academy where he was a quarterback post for the Army. He graduated there in 1929.

William married Genevieve Hawkins Decker on June 15, 1929, at Montgomery, New York.

He had been an officer cadet on July 1, 1925. He was promoted to second lieutenant of infantry on June 13, 1929. He served in the Air Corps from September 12 to December 19, 1929. He entered the regular armyin 1930. He was promoted to first lieutenant January 1, 1935; Captain June 1939; and full major October 1941.

On his 36th birthday, August 2, 1942 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He lived for a time in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

William was killed in action on June 16, 1944, in Normandy, France. He was posthumusly awarded the Distinguished Service Cross "for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Headquarters, 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces in France, on 16 June 1944. While leading his regiment in an attack against strong enemy defensive positions near Gourbesvilles, France, Colonel Nave assumed personal command of a leaderless rifle company. He reorganized the men and led them forward, inpsiring them by his bold, fearless, leadership. When the attack was halted by machine-gun crossfire, Colonel Nave boldly stood erect and walked calmly along the line of men encouraging them to advance. Then still in the lead he ran towards the enemy but was hit as he crossed a stream. He fell, still shouting to his men to go forward, and died almost immediately. Lieutenant Colonel Nave's fearless courage and his supreme devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 90th Infantry Division, and the United States Army." (http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=22492 - Accessed May 24, 2012)