Walter D. Ehlers Medal of Honor citation
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
WALTER DAVID EHLERS
for service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Walter David Ehlers (ASN: 17002449), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company L, 3d Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, in action near Goville, France, on 9 and 10 June 1944. Staff Sergeant 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, Staff Sergeant Ehlers, far ahead of his men, led his squad against a strongly defended enemy strong point, personally killing four 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 two mortars protected by the crossfire of two machineguns, Staff Sergeant Ehlers led his men through this hail of bullets to kill or put to flight the enemy of the mortar section, killing three 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 Staff Sergeant 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. Staff Sergeant 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 Staff Sergeant Ehlers in the face of overwhelming enemy forces serve as an inspiration to others.
Born: May 7, 1921 in Junction City, Ks…. Joined service with brother Roland, serving together through North Africa and Sicily campaigns, but separated for Normandy invasion… Roland was killed at Omaha Beach on June 6… Also awarded Silver Star and three Purple Hearts… Last surviving Medal of Honor recipient of the Normandy campaign… Departed Feb. 20, 2014… Interred at Riverside (Calif.) National Cemetery
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