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Congressional Medal of Honor
Heroes of Buna


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

ELMER J. BURR

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company 1, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Buna, New Guinea, 24 December 1942.
Entered service at: Menasha, Wisconsin.
Born: Neenah, Wisconsin.
G.O. No.: 66, 11 Oct. 1943.

During an attack near Buna, New Guinea, on 24 December 1942, 1st Sgt. Burr saw an enemy grenade strike near his company commander. Instantly and with heroic self-sacrifice he threw himself upon it, smothering the explosion with his body. 1st Sgt. Burr thus gave his life in saving that of his commander.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

KENNETH E. GRUENNERT

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company L, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Buna, New Guinea, 24 December 1942.
Entered service at: Helenville, Wisconsin.
Born: Helenville, Wisconsin.
G.O. No.: 66, 11 October 1943.

Sgt. Gruennert was second in command of a platoon with a mission to drive through the enemy lines to the beach 600 yards ahead. Within 150 yards of the objective, the platoon encountered two hostile pillboxes. Sgt. Gruennert advanced alone on the first and put it out of action with hand grenades and rifle fire, killing three of the enemy. Seriously wounded in the shoulder, he bandaged his wound under cover of the pillbox, refusing to withdraw to the aid station and leave his men. He then, with undiminished daring, and under extremely heavy fire, attacked the second pillbox. As he neared it he threw grenades which forced the enemy out where they were easy targets for his platoon. Before the leading elements of his platoon could reach him he was shot by enemy snipers. His inspiring valor cleared the way for his platoon which was the first to attain the beach in this successful effort to split the enemy position.


[To create this Medal of Honor information directory we used primary source materials from the U.S. Army Center for Military History. However, the official citations have been edited to make them more readable.]

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