World War II History
World War II History Home Page > WWII Reference
Library
> Congressional Medal of Honor > Luzon
~
~ World War II history books World War 2 collectors buying guide World War Two posters and art World War II history articles, essays World War II links directory World War II movies and music WWII history discussion forum World War Two quotations
~


Congressional Medal of Honor
Heroes of Luzon


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

THOMAS E. ATKINS

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 10 March 1945.
Entered service at: Campobello, South Carolina.
Born: Campobello, South Carolina.
G.O. No.: 95, 30 October 1945.

Pfc. Atkins fought gallantly on the Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands. With two companions he occupied a position on a ridge outside the perimeter defense established by the 1st Platoon on a high hill. At about 3 a.m., two companies of Japanese attacked with rifle and machinegun fire, grenades, TNT charges, and land mines, severely wounding Pfc. Atkins and killing his two companions.

Despite the intense hostile fire and pain from his deep wound, he held his ground and returned heavy fire. After the attack was repulsed, he remained in his precarious position to repel any subsequent assaults instead of returning to the American lines for medical treatment. An enemy machinegun, set up within 20 yards of his foxhole, vainly attempted to drive him off or silence his gun. The Japanese repeatedly made fierce attacks, but for four hours, Pfc. Atkins determinedly remained in his fox hole, bearing the brunt of each assault and maintaining steady and accurate fire until each charge was repulsed.

At 7 a.m., 13 enemy dead lay in front of his position; he had fired 400 rounds, all he and his two dead companions possessed, and had used three rifles until each had jammed too badly for further operation. He withdrew during a lull to secure a rifle and more ammunition, and was persuaded to remain for medical treatment. While waiting, he saw a Japanese within the perimeter and, seizing a nearby rifle, killed him. A few minutes later, while lying on a litter, he discovered an enemy group moving up behind the platoon's lines. Despite his severe wound, he sat up, delivered heavy rifle fire against the group and forced them to withdraw.

Pfc. Atkins' superb bravery and his fearless determination to hold his post against the main force of repeated enemy attacks, even though painfully wounded, were major factors in enabling his comrades to maintain their lines against a numerically superior enemy force.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

ELMER CHARLES BIGELOW

Rank and organization: Watertender First Class, U.S. Naval Reserve.
Place and date: While serving on board the U.S.S. Fletcher during action against enemy Japanese forces off Corregidor Island in the Philippines, 14 February 1945.
Born: 12 July 1920, Hebron, Illinois.
Accredited to: Illinois.

Standing topside when an enemy shell struck the U.S.S. Fletcher, Bigelow, acting instantly as the deadly projectile exploded into fragments which penetrated the No. 1 gun magazine and set fire to several powder cases, picked up a pair of fire extinguishers and rushed below in a resolute attempt to quell the raging flames.

Refusing to waste the precious time required to don rescue-breathing apparatus, he plunged through the blinding smoke billowing out of the magazine hatch and dropped into the blazing compartment. Despite the acrid, burning powder smoke which seared his lungs with every agonizing breath, he worked rapidly and with instinctive sureness and succeeded in quickly extinguishing the fires and in cooling the cases and bulkheads, thereby preventing further damage to the stricken ship.

Although he succumbed to his injuries on the following day, Bigelow, by his dauntless valor, unfaltering skill and prompt action in the critical emergency, had averted a magazine explosion which undoubtedly would have left his ship wallowing at the mercy of the furiously pounding Japanese guns on Corregidor, and his heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death enhanced and sustained the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

JOSEPH J. CICCHETTI

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division.
Place and date: South Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 9 February 1945.
Entered service at: Waynesburg, Ohio.
Born: Waynesburg, Ohio.
G.O. No.: 115, 8 December 1945.

Pfc. Cicchetti was with troops assaulting the first important line of enemy defenses. The Japanese had converted the partially destroyed Manila Gas Works and adjacent buildings into a formidable system of mutually supporting strongpoints from which they were concentrating machinegun, mortar, and heavy artillery fire on the American forces. Casualties rapidly mounted, and the medical aid men, finding it increasingly difficult to evacuate the wounded, called for volunteer litter bearers. Pfc. Cicchetti immediately responded, organized a litter team and skillfully led it for more than four hours in rescuing 14 wounded men, constantly passing back and forth over a 400-yard route which was the impact area for a tremendous volume of the most intense enemy fire. On one return trip the path was blocked by machinegun fire, but Pfc. Cicchetti deliberately exposed himself to draw the automatic fire which he neutralized with his own rifle while ordering the rest of the team to rush past to safety with the wounded. While gallantly continuing his work, he noticed a group of wounded and helpless soldiers some distance away and ran to their rescue although the enemy fire had increased to new fury. As he approached the casualties, he was struck in the head by a shell fragment, but with complete disregard for his gaping wound he continued to his comrades, lifted one and carried him on his shoulders 50 yards to safety. He then collapsed and died. By his skilled leadership, indomitable will, and dauntless courage, Pfc. Cicchetti saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers at the cost of his own.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

RAYMOND H. COOLEY

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Lumboy, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 24 February 1945.
Entered service at: Richard City, Tennessee.
Born: 7 May 1914, Dunlap, Tennessee.
G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945.

S/Sgt. Cooley was a platoon guide in an assault on a camouflaged entrenchment defended by machineguns, rifles, and mortars. When his men were pinned down by two enemy machineguns, he voluntarily advanced under heavy fire to within 20 yards of one of the guns and attacked it with a hand grenade. The enemy, however, threw the grenade back at him before it could explode. Arming a second grenade, he held it for several seconds of the safe period and then hurled it into the enemy position, where it exploded instantaneously, destroying the gun and crew. He then moved toward the remaining gun, throwing grenades into enemy foxholes as he advanced. Inspired by his actions, one squad of his platoon joined him. After he had armed another grenade and was preparing to throw it into the second machinegun position, 6 enemy soldiers rushed at him. Knowing he could not dispose of the armed grenade without injuring his comrades, because of the intermingling in close combat of the men of his platoon and the enemy in the melee which ensued, he deliberately covered the grenade with his body and was severely wounded as it exploded. By his heroic actions, S/Sgt. Cooley not only silenced a machinegun and so inspired his fellow soldiers that they pressed the attack and destroyed the remaining enemy emplacements, but also, in complete disregard of his own safety, accepted certain injury and possible loss of life to avoid wounding his comrades.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

GEORGE FLEMING DAVIS

Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 6 January 1945.
Born: 23 March 1911, Manila, Philippine Islands.
Accredited to: Philippine Islands.
Other Navy awards: Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Walke engaged in a detached mission in support of minesweeping operations to clear the waters for entry of our heavy surface and amphibious forces preparatory to the invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 6 January 1945. Operating without gun support of other surface ships when four Japanese suicide planes were detected flying low overland to attack simultaneously, Comdr. Davis boldly took his position in the exposed wings of the bridge and directed control to pick up the leading plane and open fire. Alert and fearless as the Walke's deadly fire sent the first target crashing into the water and caught the second as it passed close over the bridge to plunge into the sea of portside, he remained steadfast in the path of the third plane plunging swiftly to crash the after end of the bridge structure. Seriously wounded when the craft struck, drenched with gasoline and immediately enveloped in flames, he conned the Walke in the midst of the wreckage; he rallied his command to heroic efforts; he exhorted his officers and men to save the ship and, still on his feet, saw the barrage from his guns destroy the fourth suicide bomber. With the fires under control and the safety of the ship assured, he consented to be carried below. Succumbing several hours later, Comdr. Davis by his example of valor and his unhesitating self-sacrifice, steeled the fighting spirit of his command into unyielding purpose in completing a vital mission. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

JAMES H. DIAMOND

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company D, 21st Infantry, 24th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Mintal, Mindanao, Philippine Islands, 8-14 May 1945.
Entered service at: Gulfport, Mississippi.
Born: New Orleans, Louisiana.
G.O. No.: 23, 6 March 1946.

As a member of the machinegun section, he displayed extreme gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. When a Japanese sniper rose from his foxhole to throw a grenade into their midst, this valiant soldier charged and killed the enemy with a burst from his submachine gun; then, by delivering sustained fire from his personal arm and simultaneously directing the fire of 105mm. and .50 caliber weapons upon the enemy pillboxes immobilizing this and another machinegun section, he enabled them to put their guns into action. When two infantry companies established a bridgehead, he voluntarily assisted in evacuating the wounded under heavy fire; and then, securing an abandoned vehicle, transported casualties to the rear through mortar and artillery fire so intense as to render the vehicle inoperative and despite the fact he was suffering from a painful wound. The following day he again volunteered, this time for the hazardous job of repairing a bridge under heavy enemy fire. On 14 May 1945, when leading a patrol to evacuate casualties from his battalion, which was cut off, he ran through a virtual hail of Japanese fire to secure an abandoned machine gun. Though mortally wounded as he reached the gun, he succeeded in drawing sufficient fire upon himself so that the remaining members of the patrol could reach safety. Pfc. Diamond's indomitable spirit, constant disregard of danger, and eagerness to assist his comrades, will ever remain a symbol of selflessness and heroic sacrifice to those for whom he gave his life.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

DAVID M. GONZALES

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 25 April 1945.
Entered service at: Pacoima, California.
Born: Pacoima, California.
G.O. No.: 115, 8 December 1945.

He was pinned down with his company. As enemy fire swept the area, making any movement extremely hazardous, a 500-pound bomb smashed into the company's perimeter, burying 5 men with its explosion. Pfc. Gonzales, without hesitation, seized an entrenching tool and under a hail of fire crawled 15 yards to his entombed comrades, where his commanding officer, who had also rushed forward, was beginning to dig the men out. Nearing his goal, he saw the officer struck and instantly killed by machinegun fire. Undismayed, he set to work swiftly and surely with his hands and the entrenching tool while enemy sniper and machinegun bullets struck all about him. He succeeded in digging one of the men out of the pile of rock and sand. To dig faster he stood up regardless of the greater danger from so exposing himself. He extricated a second man, and then another. As he completed the liberation of the third, he was hit and mortally wounded, but the comrades for whom he so gallantly gave his life were safely evacuated. Pfc. Gonzales' valiant and intrepid conduct exemplifies the highest tradition of the military service.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

WILLIAM J. GRABIARZ

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army. Troop E, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division.
Place and date: Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 23 February 1945.
Entered service at: Buffalo, New York.
Born: Buffalo, New York.
G.O. No.: 115, 8 December 1945.

He was a scout when the unit advanced with tanks along a street in Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands. Without warning, enemy machinegun and rifle fire from concealed positions in the Customs building swept the street, striking down the troop commander and driving his men to cover.

As the officer lay in the open road, unable to move and completely exposed to the pointblank enemy fire, Pfc. Grabiarz voluntarily ran from behind a tank to carry him to safety, but was himself wounded in the shoulder. Ignoring both the pain in his injured useless arm and his comrades' shouts to seek the cover which was only a few yards distant, the valiant rescuer continued his efforts to drag his commander out of range. Finding this impossible, he rejected the opportunity to save himself and deliberately covered the officer with his own body to form a human shield, calling as he did so for a tank to maneuver into position between him and the hostile emplacement.

The enemy riddled him with concentrated fire before the tank could interpose itself. Our troops found that he had been successful in preventing bullets from striking his leader, who survived. Through his magnificent sacrifice in gallantly giving his life to save that of his commander, Pfc. Grabiarz provided an outstanding and lasting inspiration to his fellow soldiers.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

HARRY R. HARR

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company D, 124th Infantry, 31st Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Maglamin, Mindanao, Philippine Islands, 5 June 1945.
Entered service at: East Freedom, Pennsylvania.
Born: Pine Croft, Pennsylvania
G.O. No.: 28, 28 March 1946.

In a fierce counterattack, the Japanese closed in on his machinegun emplacement, hurling hand grenades, one of which exploded under the gun, putting it out of action and wounding two of the crew. While the remaining gunners were desperately attempting to repair their weapon another grenade landed squarely in the emplacement. Quickly realizing he could not safely throw the unexploded missile from the crowded position, Cpl. Harr unhesitatingly covered it with his body to smother the blast. His supremely courageous act, which cost him his life, saved four of his comrades and enabled them to continue their mission.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

DEXTER J. KERSTETTER

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 130th Infantry, 33d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Galiano, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 13 April 1945.
Entered service at: Centralia, Washington.
Born: Centralia, Washington.
G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945.

He was with his unit in a dawn attack against hill positions approachable only along a narrow ridge paralleled on each side by steep cliffs which were heavily defended by enemy mortars, machineguns, and rifles in well-camouflaged spider holes and tunnels leading to caves. When the leading element was halted by intense fire that inflicted 5 casualties, Pfc. Kerstetter passed through the American line with his squad. Placing himself well in advance of his men, he grimly worked his way up the narrow steep hogback, meeting the brunt of enemy action. With well-aimed shots and rifle-grenade fire, he forced the Japs to take cover. He left the trail and moving down a cliff that offered only precarious footholds, dropped among four Japs at the entrance to a cave, fired his rifle from his hip and killed them all. Climbing back to the trail, he advanced against heavy enemy machinegun, rifle, and mortar fire to silence a heavy machinegun by killing its crew of four with rifle fire and grenades. He expended his remaining ammunition and grenades on a group of approximately 20 Japs, scattering them, and returned to his squad for more ammunition and first aid for his left hand, which had been blistered by the heat from his rifle. Resupplied, he guided a fresh platoon into a position from which a concerted attack could be launched, killing three hostile soldiers on the way. In all, he dispatched 16 Japs that day. The hill was taken and held against the enemy's counterattacks, which continued for three days. Pfc. Kerstetter's dauntless and gallant heroism was largely responsible for the capture of this key enemy position, and his fearless attack in the face of great odds was an inspiration to his comrades in their dangerous task.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

ANTHONY L. KROTIAK

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company I, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Balete Pass, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 8 May 1945.
Entered service at: Chicago, Illinois.
Born: 15 August 1915, Chicago, Illinois.
G.O. No.: 18, 13 February 1946.

Pfc. Krotiak was an acting squad leader, directing his men in consolidating a newly won position on Hill B when the enemy concentrated small arms fire and grenades upon him and four others, driving them to cover in an abandoned Japanese trench.

A grenade thrown from above landed in the center of the group. Instantly pushing his comrades aside and jamming the grenade into the earth with his rifle butt, he threw himself over it, making a shield of his body to protect the other men. The grenade exploded under him, and he died a few minutes later.

By his extraordinary heroism in deliberately giving his life to save those of his comrades, Pfc. Krotiak set an inspiring example of utter devotion and self-sacrifice which reflects the highest traditions of the military service.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

ROBERT E. LAWS

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company G, 169th Infantry, 43d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Pangasinan Province, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 12 January 1945.
Entered service at: Altoona, Pennsylvania.
Born: Altoona, Pennsylvania
G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945.

He led the assault squad when Company G attacked enemy hill positions. The enemy force, estimated to be a reinforced infantry company, was well supplied with machineguns, ammunition, grenades, and blocks of TNT and could be attacked only across a narrow ridge 70 yards long. At the end of this ridge an enemy pillbox and rifle positions were set in rising ground. Covered by his squad, S/Sgt Laws traversed the hogback through vicious enemy fire until close to the pillbox, where he hurled grenades at the fortification. Enemy grenades wounded him, but he persisted in his assault until one of his missiles found its mark and knocked out the pillbox. With more grenades, passed to him by members of his squad who had joined him, he led the attack on the entrenched riflemen. In the advance up the hill, he suffered additional wounds in both arms and legs, about the body and in the head, as grenades and TNT charges exploded near him. Three Japs rushed him with fixed bayonets, and he emptied the magazine of his machine pistol at them, killing 2. He closed in hand-to-hand combat with the third, seizing the Jap's rifle as he met the onslaught. The two fell to the ground and rolled some 50 or 60 feet down a bank. When the dust cleared the Jap lay dead and the valiant American was climbing up the hill with a large gash across the head. He was given first aid and evacuated from the area while his squad completed the destruction of the enemy position. S/Sgt. Laws' heroic actions provided great inspiration to his comrades, and his courageous determination, in the face of formidable odds and while suffering from multiple wounds, enabled them to secure an important objective with minimum casualties.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

MELVIN MAYFIELD

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company D, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Cordillera Mountains, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 29 July 1945.
Entered service at: Nashport, Ohio.
Born: Salem, West Virginia.
G.O. No.: 49, 31 May 1946.

He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while fighting in the Cordillera Mountains of Luzon, Philippine Islands. When two Filipino companies were pinned down under a torrent of enemy fire that converged on them from a circular ridge commanding their position, Cpl. Mayfield, in a gallant single-handed effort to aid them, rushed from shell hole to shell hole until he reached four enemy caves atop the barren fire-swept hill. With grenades and his carbine, he assaulted each of the caves while enemy fire pounded about him. However, before he annihilated the last hostile redoubt, a machinegun bullet destroyed his weapon and slashed his left hand. Disregarding his wound, he secured more grenades and dauntlessly charged again into the face of pointblank fire to help destroy a hostile observation post. By his gallant determination and heroic leadership, Cpl. Mayfield inspired the men to eliminate all remaining pockets of resistance in the area and to press the advance against the enemy.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

LLOYD G. McCARTER

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Place and date: Corregidor, Philippine Islands, 16-19 February 1945.
Entered service at: Tacoma, Washington.
Born: 11 May 1917, St. Maries, Idaho.
G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945.

Private McCarter was a scout with the regiment which seized the fortress of Corregidor, Philippine Islands. Shortly after the initial parachute assault on 16 February 1945, he crossed 30 yards of open ground under intense enemy fire, and at pointblank range silenced a machinegun with hand grenades.

On the afternoon of 18 February he killed six snipers.

That evening, when a large force attempted to bypass his company, he voluntarily moved to an exposed area and opened fire. The enemy attacked his position repeatedly throughout the night and was each time repulsed. By two o'clock in the morning, all the men about him had been wounded; but shouting encouragement to his comrades and defiance at the enemy, he continued to bear the brunt of the attack, fearlessly exposing himself to locate enemy soldiers and then pouring heavy fire on them. He repeatedly crawled back to the American line to secure more ammunition. When his submachine gun would no longer operate, he seized an automatic rifle and continued to inflict heavy casualties. This weapon, in turn, became too hot to use and, discarding it, he continued with an M-l rifle.

At dawn the enemy attacked with renewed intensity. Completely exposing himself to hostile fire, he stood erect to locate the most dangerous enemy positions. He was seriously wounded; but, though he had already killed more than 30 of the enemy, he refused to evacuate until he had pointed out immediate objectives for attack.

Through his sustained and outstanding heroism in the face of grave and obvious danger, Pvt. McCarter made outstanding contributions to the success of his company and to the recapture of Corregidor.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

CHARLES L. McGAHA

Rank and organization: Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company G, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Lupao, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 7 February 1945.
Entered service at: Crosby, Tennessee.
Born: Crosby, Tennessee.
G.O. No.: 30, 2 April 1946.

He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity. His platoon and one other from Company G were pinned down in a roadside ditch by heavy fire from 5 Japanese tanks supported by 10 machineguns and a platoon of riflemen. When one of his men fell wounded 40 yards away, he unhesitatingly crossed the road under a hail of bullets and moved the man 75 yards to safety. Although he had suffered a deep arm wound, he returned to his post. Finding the platoon leader seriously wounded, he assumed command and rallied his men. Once more he braved the enemy fire to go to the aid of a litter party removing another wounded soldier. A shell exploded in their midst, wounding him in the shoulder and killing 2 of the party. He picked up the remaining man, carried him to cover, and then moved out in front deliberately to draw the enemy fire while the American forces, thus protected, withdrew to safety. When the last man had gained the new position, he rejoined his command and there collapsed from loss of blood and exhaustion. M/Sgt. McGaha set an example of courage and leadership in keeping with the highest traditions of the service.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

THOMAS B. McGUIRE, JR.

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army Air Corps, 13th Air Force.
Place and date: Over Luzon, Philippine Islands, 25-26 December 1944.
Entered service at: Sebring, Florida.
Born: Ridgewood, New Jersey.
G.O. No.: 24, 7 March 1946.

Major McGuire fought with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity over Luzon, Philippine Islands. Voluntarily, he led a squadron of 15 P-38's as top cover for heavy bombers striking Mabalacat Airdrome, where his formation was attacked by 20 aggressive Japanese fighters.

In the ensuing action he repeatedly flew to the aid of embattled comrades, driving off enemy assaults while himself under attack and at times outnumbered three to one, and even after his guns jammed, continuing the fight by forcing a hostile plane into his wingman's line of fire. Before he started back to his base he had shot down three Zeros.

The next day he again volunteered to lead escort fighters on a mission to strongly defended Clark Field. During the resultant engagement he again exposed himself to attacks so that he might rescue a crippled bomber. In rapid succession he shot down one aircraft, parried the attack of four enemy fighters, one of which he shot down, single-handedly engaged three more Japanese, destroying one, and then shot down still another, his 38th victory in aerial combat.

On 7 January 1945, while leading a voluntary fighter sweep over Los Negros Island, he risked an extremely hazardous maneuver at low altitude in an attempt to save a fellow flyer from attack, crashed, and was reported missing in action.

With gallant initiative, deep and unselfish concern for the safety of others, and heroic determination to destroy the enemy at all costs, Maj. McGuire set an inspiring example in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

JOHN R. McKINNEY

Rank and organization: Sergeant (then Private), U.S. Army, Company A, 123d Infantry, 33d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Tayabas Province, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 11 May 1945.
Entered service at: Woodcliff, Ga.
Born: Woodcliff, Georgia.
G.O. No.: 14, 4 February 1946.

Pvt. McKinney fought with extreme gallantry to defend the outpost which had been established near Dingalan Bay. Just before daybreak approximately 100 Japanese stealthily attacked the perimeter defense, concentrating on a light machinegun position manned by three Americans. Having completed a long tour of duty at this gun, Pvt. McKinney was resting a few paces away when an enemy soldier dealt him a glancing blow on the head with a saber. Although dazed by the stroke, he seized his rifle, bludgeoned his attacker, and then shot another assailant who was charging him. Meanwhile, one of his comrades at the machinegun had been wounded and his other companion withdrew carrying the injured man to safety. Alone, Pvt. McKinney was confronted by 10 infantrymen who had captured the machinegun with the evident intent of reversing it to fire into the perimeter. Leaping into the emplacement, he shot 7 of them at pointblank range and killed three more with his rifle butt. In the melee the machinegun was rendered inoperative, leaving him only his rifle with which to meet the advancing Japanese, who hurled grenades and directed knee mortar shells into the perimeter. He warily changed position, secured more ammunition, and reloading repeatedly, cut down waves of the fanatical enemy with devastating fire or clubbed them to death in hand-to-hand combat. When assistance arrived, he had thwarted the assault and was in complete control of the area. Thirty-eight dead Japanese around the machinegun and two more at the side of a mortar 45 yards distant was the amazing toll he had exacted single-handedly. By his indomitable spirit, extraordinary fighting ability, and unwavering courage in the face of tremendous odds, Pvt. McKinley saved his company from possible annihilation and set an example of unsurpassed intrepidity.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

LAVERNE PARRISH

Rank and organization: Technician 4th Grade, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 161st Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Binalonan, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 18-24 January 1945.
Entered service at: Ronan, Montana.
Birth: Knox City, Missouri.
G.O. No.: 55, 13 July 1945.

He was medical aid man with Company C during the fighting in Binalonan, Luzon, Philippine Islands. On the 18th, he observed two wounded men under enemy fire and immediately went to their rescue. After moving one to cover, he crossed 25 yards of open ground to administer aid to the second. In the early hours of the 24th, his company, crossing an open field near San Manuel, encountered intense enemy fire and was ordered to withdraw to the cover of a ditch. While treating the casualties, Technician Parrish observed two wounded still in the field. Without hesitation he left the ditch, crawled forward under enemy fire, and in two successive trips brought both men to safety. He next administered aid to 12 casualties in the same field, crossing and re-crossing the open area raked by hostile fire. Making successive trips, he then brought three wounded in to cover. After treating nearly all of the 37 casualties suffered by his company, he was mortally wounded by mortar fire, and shortly after was killed. The indomitable spirit, intrepidity, and gallantry of Technician Parrish saved many lives at the cost of his own.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

MANUEL PEREZ, JR.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 511th Parachute Infantry, 11th Airborne Division.
Place and date: Fort William McKinley, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 13 February 1945.
Entered service at: Chicago, Illinois.
Born: 3 March 1923 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
G.O. No.: 124, 27 December 1945.

He was lead scout for Company A, which had destroyed 11 of 12 pillboxes in a strongly fortified sector defending the approach to enemy-held Fort William McKinley on Luzon, Philippine Islands. In the reduction of these pillboxes, he killed five Japanese in the open and blasted others in pillboxes with grenades.

Realizing the urgent need for taking the last emplacement, which contained two twin-mount .50-caliber dual-purpose machineguns, he took a circuitous route to within 20 yards of the position, killing four of the enemy in his advance. He threw a grenade into the pillbox, and, as the crew started withdrawing through a tunnel just to the rear of the emplacement, shot and killed four before exhausting his clip.

He had reloaded and killed four more when an escaping Japanese threw his rifle with fixed bayonet at him. In warding off this thrust, his own rifle was knocked to the ground. Seizing the Jap rifle, he continued firing, killing two more of the enemy. He rushed the remaining Japanese, killed three of them with the butt of the rifle and entered the pillbox, where he bayoneted the one surviving hostile soldier.

Single-handedly, he killed 18 of the enemy in neutralizing the position that had held up the advance of his entire company. Through his courageous determination and heroic disregard of grave danger, Pfc. Perez made possible the successful advance of his unit toward a valuable objective and provided a lasting inspiration for his comrades.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

JOHN N. REESE, JR.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Paco Railroad Station, Manila, Philippine Islands. 9 February 1945.
Entered service at: Pryor, Oklahoma.
Birth: Muskogee, Oklahoma.
G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945.

He was engaged in the attack on the Paco Railroad Station, which was strongly defended by 300 determined enemy soldiers with machineguns and rifles, supported by several pillboxes, three 20mm. guns, one 37-mm. gun and heavy mortars. While making a frontal assault across an open field, his platoon was halted 100 yards from the station by intense enemy fire. On his own initiative he left the platoon. accompanied by a comrade, and continued forward to a house 60 yards from the objective. Although under constant enemy observation. the 2 men remained in this position for an hour, firing at targets of opportunity, killing more than 35 Japanese and wounding many more. Moving closer to the station and discovering a group of Japanese replacements attempting to reach pillboxes, they opened heavy fire, killed more than 40 and stopped all subsequent attempts to man the emplacements. Enemy fire became more intense as they advanced to within 20 yards of the station. From that point Pfc. Reese provided effective covering fire and courageously drew enemy fire to himself while his companion killed 7 Japanese and destroyed a 20-mm. gun and heavy machinegun with handgrenades. With their ammunition running low, the 2 men started to return to the American lines, alternately providing covering fire for each other as they withdrew. During this movement, Pfc. Reese was killed by enemy fire as he reloaded his rifle. The intrepid team, in 21/2 hours of fierce fighting, killed more than 82 Japanese, completely disorganized their defense and paved the way for subsequent complete defeat of the enemy at this strong point. By his gallant determination in the face of tremendous odds, aggressive fighting spirit, and extreme heroism at the cost of his life, Pfc. Reese materially aided the advance of our troops in Manila and providing a lasting inspiration to all those with whom he served.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

CLETO RODRIGUEZ

Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant (then Private), U.S. Army, Company B, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Paco Railroad Station, Manila, Philippine Islands, 9 February 1945.
Entered service at: San Antonio, Texas.
Born: San Marcos, Texas.
G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945.

He was an automatic rifleman when his unit attacked the strongly defended Paco Railroad Station during the battle for Manila, Philippine Islands. While making a frontal assault across an open field, his platoon was halted 100 yards from the station by intense enemy fire. On his own initiative, he left the platoon, accompanied by a comrade, and continued forward to a house 60 yards from the objective. Although under constant enemy observation, the 2 men remained in this position for an hour, firing at targets of opportunity, killing more than 35 hostile soldiers and wounding many more. Moving closer to the station and discovering a group of Japanese replacements attempting to reach pillboxes, they opened heavy fire, killed more than 40 and stopped all subsequent attempts to man the emplacements. Enemy fire became more intense as they advanced to within 20 yards of the station. Then, covered by his companion, Pvt. Rodriguez boldly moved up to the building and threw 5 grenades through a doorway killing 7 Japanese, destroying a 20-mm. gun and wrecking a heavy machinegun. With their ammunition running low, the 2 men started to return to the American lines, alternately providing covering fire for each other's withdrawal. During this movement, Pvt. Rodriguez' companion was killed. In 2 l/2 hours of fierce fighting the intrepid team killed more than 82 Japanese, completely disorganized their defense, and paved the way for the subsequent overwhelming defeat of the enemy at this strongpoint. Two days later, Pvt. Rodriguez again enabled his comrades to advance when he single-handedly killed 6 Japanese and destroyed a well-placed 20-mm. gun by his outstanding skill with his weapons, gallant determination to destroy the enemy, and heroic courage in the face of tremendous odds, Pvt. Rodriguez, on two occasions, materially aided the advance of our troops in Manila.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

DONALD E. RUDOLPH

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company E, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 5 February 1945.
Entered service at: Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Born: South Haven, Minnesota.
G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945.

2d Lt. Rudolph (then T/Sgt.) was acting as platoon leader at Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands. While administering first aid on the battlefield, he observed enemy fire issuing from a nearby culvert. Crawling to the culvert with rifle and grenades, he killed three of the enemy concealed there. He then worked his way across open terrain toward a line of enemy pillboxes which had immobilized his company. Nearing the first pillbox, he hurled a grenade through its embrasure and charged the position. With his bare hands he tore away the wood and tin covering, then dropped a grenade through the opening, killing the enemy gunners and destroying their machinegun. Ordering several riflemen to cover his further advance, 2d Lt. Rudolph seized a pick mattock and made his way to the second pillbox. Piercing its top with the mattock, he dropped a grenade through the hole, fired several rounds from his rifle into it and smothered any surviving enemy by sealing the hole and the embrasure with earth. In quick succession he attacked and neutralized 6 more pillboxes. Later, when his platoon was attacked by an enemy tank, he advanced under covering fire, climbed to the top of the tank and dropped a white phosphorus grenade through the turret, destroying the crew. Through his outstanding heroism, superb courage, and leadership, and complete disregard for his own safety, 2d Lt. Rudolph cleared a path for an advance which culminated in one of the most decisive victories of the Philippine campaign.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

WILLIAM R. SHOCKLEY

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 128th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 31 March 1945.
Entered service at: Selma, California.
Born: Bokoshe, Oklahoma.
G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945.

He was in position with his unit on a hill when the enemy, after a concentration of artillery fire, launched a counterattack. He maintained his position under intense enemy fire and urged his comrades to withdraw, saying that he would "remain to the end" to provide cover. Although he had to clear two stoppages which impeded the reloading of his weapon, he halted one enemy charge. Hostile troops then began moving in on his left flank, and he quickly shifted his gun to fire on them. Knowing that the only route of escape was being cut off by the enemy, he ordered the remainder of his squad to withdraw to safety and deliberately remained at his post. He continued to fire until he was killed during the ensuing enemy charge. Later, four Japanese were found dead in front of his position. Pfc. Shockley, facing certain death, sacrificed himself to save his fellow soldiers, but the heroism and gallantry displayed by him enabled his squad to reorganize and continue its attack.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

WILLIAM A. SHOMO

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army Air Corps, 82d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron.
Place and date: Over Luzon, Philippine Islands, 11 January 1945.
Entered service at: Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
Born: Jeannette, Pennsylvania.
G.O. No.: 25, 7 April 1945.

Maj. Shomo was lead pilot of a flight of two fighter planes charged with an armed photographic and strafing mission against the Aparri and Laoag airdromes. While en route to the objective, he observed an enemy twin engine bomber, protected by 12 fighters, flying about 2,500 feet above him and in the opposite direction.

Although the odds were 13 to two, Maj. Shomo immediately ordered an attack. Accompanied by his wingman he closed on the enemy formation in a climbing turn and scored hits on the leading plane of the third element, which exploded in midair. Maj. Shomo then attacked the second element from the left side of the formation and shot another fighter down in flames.

When the enemy formed for counterattack, Maj. Shomo moved to the other side of the formation and hit a third fighter which exploded and fell. Diving below the bomber he put a burst into its underside and it crashed and burned. Pulling up from this pass he encountered a fifth plane firing head on and destroyed it. He next dived upon the first element and shot down the lead plane; then diving to 300 feet in pursuit of another fighter he caught it with his initial burst and it crashed in flames.

During this action his wingman had shot down three planes, while the three remaining enemy fighters had fled into a cloudbank and escaped. Maj. Shomo's extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity in attacking such a far superior force and destroying seven enemy aircraft in one action is unparalleled in the southwest Pacific area.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

JOHN C. SJOGREN

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 160th Infantry, 40th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near San Jose Hacienda, Negros, Philippine Islands, 23 May 1945.
Entered service at: Rockford, Michigan.
Birth: Rockford, Michigan.
G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945.

He led an attack against a high precipitous ridge defended by a company of enemy riflemen, who were entrenched in spider holes and supported by well-sealed pillboxes housing automatic weapons with interlocking bands of fire. The terrain was such that only one squad could advance at one time; and from a knoll atop a ridge a pillbox covered the only approach with automatic fire. Against this enemy stronghold, S/Sgt. Sjogren led the first squad to open the assault. Deploying his men, he moved forward and was hurling grenades when he saw that his next in command, at the opposite flank, was gravely wounded. Without hesitation he crossed 20 yards of exposed terrain in the face of enemy fire and exploding dynamite charges, moved the man to cover and administered first aid. He then worked his way forward and, advancing directly into the enemy fire, killed 8 Japanese in spider holes guarding the approach to the pillbox. Crawling to within a few feet of the pillbox while his men concentrated their bullets on the fire port, he began dropping grenades through the narrow firing slit. The enemy immediately threw two or three of these unexploded grenades out, and fragments from one wounded him in the hand and back. However, by hurling grenades through the embrasure faster then the enemy could return them, he succeeded in destroying the occupants. Despite his wounds, he directed his squad to follow him in a systematic attack on the remaining positions, which he eliminated in like manner, taking tremendous risks, overcoming bitter resistance, and never hesitating in his relentless advance. To silence one of the pillboxes, he wrenched a light machinegun out through the embrasure as it was firing before blowing up the occupants with handgrenades. During this action, S/Sgt. Sjogren, by his heroic bravery, aggressiveness, and skill as a soldier, single-handedly killed 43 enemy soldiers and destroyed 9 pillboxes, thereby paving the way for his company's successful advance.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

WILLIAM H. THOMAS

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 149th Infantry, 38th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Zambales Mountains Luzon, Philippine Islands, 22 April 1945.
Entered service at: Ypsilanti, Michigan. Birth. Wynne, Arkansas.
G.O. No.: 81, 24 September 1945.

He was a member of the leading squad of Company B, which was attacking along a narrow, wooded ridge. The enemy strongly entrenched in camouflaged emplacements on the hill beyond directed heavy fire and hurled explosive charges on the attacking riflemen. Pfc. Thomas, an automatic rifleman, was struck by one of these charges, which blew off both his legs below the knees. He refused medical aid and evacuation, and continued to fire at the enemy until his weapon was put out of action by an enemy bullet. Still refusing aid, he threw his last 2 grenades. He destroyed three of the enemy after suffering the wounds from which he died later that day. The effective fire of Pfc. Thomas prevented the repulse of his platoon and assured the capture of the hostile position. His magnificent courage and heroic devotion to duty provided a lasting inspiration for his comrades.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

ROBERT M. VIALE

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company K, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 5 February 1945.
Entered service at: Ukiah, California.
Born: Bayside, California.
G.O. No.: 92, 25 October 1945.

He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Forced by the enemy's detonation of prepared demolitions to shift the course of his advance through the city, he led the 1st platoon toward a small bridge, where heavy fire from three enemy pillboxes halted the unit. With 2 men he crossed the bridge behind screening grenade smoke to attack the pillboxes. The first he knocked out himself while covered by his men's protecting fire; the other 2 were silenced by one of his companions and a bazooka team which he had called up. He suffered a painful wound in the right arm during the action. After his entire platoon had joined him, he pushed ahead through mortar fire and encircling flames. Blocked from the only escape route by an enemy machinegun placed at a street corner, he entered a nearby building with his men to explore possible means of reducing the emplacement. In one room he found civilians huddled together, in another, a small window placed high in the wall and reached by a ladder. Because of the relative positions of the window, ladder, and enemy emplacement, he decided that he, being left-handed, could better hurl a grenade than one of his men who had made an unsuccessful attempt. Grasping an armed grenade, he started up the ladder. His wounded right arm weakened, and, as he tried to steady himself, the grenade fell to the floor. In the 5 seconds before the grenade would explode, he dropped down, recovered the grenade and looked for a place to dispose of it safely. Finding no way to get rid of the grenade without exposing his own men or the civilians to injury or death, he turned to the wall, held it close to his body and bent over it as it exploded. 2d Lt. Viale died in a few minutes, but his heroic act saved the lives of others.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

YSMAEL R. VILLEGAS

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company F, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 20 March 1945.
Entered service at: Casa Blanca, California.
Born: Casa Blanca, California.
G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945.

He was a squad leader when his unit, in a forward position, clashed with an enemy strongly entrenched in connected caves and foxholes on commanding ground. He moved boldly from man to man, in the face of bursting grenades and demolition charges, through heavy machinegun and rifle fire, to bolster the spirit of his comrades. Inspired by his gallantry, his men pressed forward to the crest of the hill. Numerous enemy riflemen, refusing to flee, continued firing from their foxholes. S/Sgt. Villegas, with complete disregard for his own safety and the bullets which kicked up the dirt at his feet, charged an enemy position, and, firing at point-blank range killed the Japanese in a foxhole. He rushed a second foxhole while bullets missed him by inches, and killed one more of the enemy. In rapid succession he charged a third, a fourth, a fifth foxhole, each time destroying the enemy within. The fire against him increased in intensity, but he pressed onward to attack a sixth position. As he neared his goal, he was hit and killed by enemy fire. Through his heroism and indomitable fighting spirit, S/Sgt. Villegas, at the cost of his life, inspired his men to a determined attack in which they swept the enemy from the field.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

HOWARD E. WOODFORD

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 130th Infantry, 33d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Tabio, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 6 June 1945.
Entered service at: Barberton, Ohio.
Born: Barberton, Ohio.
G.O. No.: 14, 4 February 1946.

He volunteered to investigate the delay in a scheduled attack by an attached guerrilla battalion. Reaching the line of departure, he found that the lead company, in combat for the first time, was immobilized by intense enemy mortar, machinegun, and rifle fire which had caused casualties to key personnel. Knowing that further failure to advance would endanger the flanks of adjacent units, as well as delay capture of the objective, he immediately took command of the company, evacuated the wounded, reorganized the unit under fire, and prepared to attack. He repeatedly exposed himself to draw revealing fire from the Japanese strongpoints, and then moved forward with a 5-man covering force to determine exact enemy positions. Although intense enemy machinegun fire killed two and wounded his other three men, S/Sgt. Woodford resolutely continued his patrol before returning to the company. Then, against bitter resistance, he guided the guerrillas up a barren hill and captured the objective, personally accounting for 2 hostile machinegunners and courageously reconnoitering strong defensive positions before directing neutralizing fire. After organizing a perimeter defense for the night, he was given permission by radio to return to his battalion, but, feeling that he was needed to maintain proper control, he chose to remain with the guerrillas. Before dawn the next morning the enemy launched a fierce suicide attack with mortars, grenades, and small-arms fire, and infiltrated through the perimeter. Though wounded by a grenade, S/Sgt. Woodford remained at his post calling for mortar support until bullets knocked out his radio. Then, seizing a rifle he began working his way around the perimeter, encouraging the men until he reached a weak spot where 2 guerrillas had been killed. Filling this gap himself, he fought off the enemy. At daybreak he was found dead in his foxhole, but 37 enemy dead were lying in and around his position. By his daring, skillful, and inspiring leadership, as well as by his gallant determination to search out and kill the enemy, S/Sgt. Woodford led an inexperienced unit in capturing and securing a vital objective, and was responsible for the successful continuance of a vitally important general advance.


[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.]

~
~ World War II history books World War 2 collectors buying guide World War Two posters and art Second World War collectibles and gift ideas World War II history articles, essays World War II links directory World War II movies and music WWII history discussion forum World War Two quotations World War II history home page
~
© 2001-2003 Interesting.com
World War II history books and items from Amazon
World War II posters and prints from AllPosters