The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasuree in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS
GINO JOSEPH MERLI
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 Private First Class Gino Joseph Merli, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company H, 2d Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment. Private First Class Merli was serving as a machine gunner in the vicinity of Sars la Bruyere, Belgium, on the night of 4 – 5 September 1944, when his company was attacked by a superior German force. Its position was overrun and he was surrounded when our troops were driven back by overwhelming numbers and firepower. Disregarding the fury of the enemy fire concentrated on him he maintained his position, covering the withdrawal of our riflemen and breaking the force of the enemy pressure. His assistant machine gunner was killed and the position captured; the other eight members of the section were forced to surrender. Private First Class Merli slumped down beside the dead assistant gunner and feigned death. No sooner had the enemy group withdrawn then he was up and firing in all directions. Once more his position was taken and the captors found two apparently lifeless bodies. Throughout the night Private First Class Merli stayed at his weapon. By daybreak the enemy had suffered heavy losses, and as our troops launched an assault, asked for a truce. Our negotiating party, who accepted the German surrender, found Private First Class Merli still at his gun. On the battlefield lay 52 enemy dead, 19 of whom were directly in front of the gun. Private First Class Merli’s gallantry and courage, and the losses and confusion that he caused the enemy, contributed materially to our victory.
Born: May 13, 1924 in Scranton, Pa…. Was wounded when the Germans prodded him multiple times with bayonets to see if he was alive during above actions… Also fought during the Battle of the Bulge… Departed: June 11, 2002… Interred at Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery in Carbondale, Pa.