” Walter Ehlers belonged to the “Greatest Generation” — men like my dad who left the warmth of homes to fight the tyranny of Naziism, fascism and imperialism. They are the men for whom our eyes well up when we meet them and hear their stories.
Today unfortunately we bid farewell to a piece of American history: World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Walter D. Ehlers.
When Ehlers was 23 years old, he charged through enemy fire to destroy two German machine gun nests, killed seven enemy soldiers, put a halt to a mortar barrage and carried a wounded buddy to safety – all after he had been shot in the side by a sniper. The date was June 9, 1944 at Normandy. His mission was to liberate Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.”
From the Congressional Medal Of Honor Society
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Division: 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
Born: May 7, 1921, Junction City, Kans.
Departed: Yes (02/20/2014)
Entered Service At: Manhattan, Kans.
G.O. Number: 91
Date of Issue: 12/19/1944
Accredited To: Kansas
Place / Date: Near Goville, France, 9-10 June 1944
S/Sgt Ehlers’ citation reads:
” For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 9-10 June 1944, near Goville, France. S/Sgt. Ehlers, always acting as the spearhead of the attack, repeatedly led his men against heavily defended enemy strong points exposing himself to deadly hostile fire whenever the situation required heroic and courageous leadership.
Without waiting for an order, S/Sgt. Ehlers, far ahead of his men, led his squad against a strongly defended enemy strong point, personally killing 4 of an enemy patrol who attacked him en route. Then crawling forward under withering machinegun fire, he pounced upon the guncrew and put it out of action. Turning his attention to 2 mortars protected by the crossfire of 2 machineguns, S/Sgt. Ehlers led his men through this hail of bullets to kill or put to flight the enemy of the mortar section, killing 3 men himself. After mopping up the mortar positions, he again advanced on a machinegun, his progress effectively covered by his squad. When he was almost on top of the gun he leaped to his feet and, although greatly outnumbered, he knocked out the position single-handed.
The next day, having advanced deep into enemy territory, the platoon of which S/Sgt. Ehlers was a member, finding itself in an untenable position as the enemy brought increased mortar, machinegun, and small arms fire to bear on it, was ordered to withdraw. S/Sgt. Ehlers, after his squad had covered the withdrawal of the remainder of the platoon, stood up and by continuous fire at the semicircle of enemy placements, diverted the bulk of the heavy hostile fire on himself, thus permitting the members of his own squad to withdraw.
At this point, though wounded himself, he carried his wounded automatic rifleman to safety and then returned fearlessly over the shell-swept field to retrieve the automatic rifle which he was unable to carry previously. After having his wound treated, he refused to be evacuated, and returned to lead his squad. The intrepid leadership, indomitable courage, and fearless aggressiveness displayed by S/Sgt. Ehlers in the face of overwhelming enemy forces serve as an inspiration to others.”
For more information on this great and humble warrior go here , here , here and here .
Godspeed S/Sgt Ehlers … Rest in peace and thank you for your service.
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