Too many times in the past few years we’ve read about soldiers getting the medal of Honor and when I read the citations I am often flummoxed as to the reason they got them because the actions don’t appear to be as heroic as those I’ve read about by soldiers in WW I, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Sure, there have been some the past 10 years or so. But not many.

Now, read the citation of this man, Walter Ehlers, who went ashore on D-Day. And lost a brother in that battle.

He died at age 92.


Here’s his background:

Walter D. Ehlers was born May 7, 1921 in Junction City, Kansas. In October 1940, he and his brother Roland enlisted in the Army and Walter would go on to be part of the 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, where he and his unit stormed the beach on the second wave of the D-Day Normandy invasion.

His brother Roland was killed in the invasion. Staff Sergeant Ehlers heroic actions on the battlefield near Goville, France during June 9- 10, 1944 led to him being awarded the Medal of Honor. After receiving the award, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and left the Army after five years of service.

After the war he returned to Kansas and later moved to California, where he retired from the Veterans Administration. He leaves behind his wife Dorothy, three children, 11 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Take a moment to read the citation of a hero.

Here’s the citation:

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.

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  1. Leonard Jones says:

    I found a story yesterday on Weasel Zippers that said president Ogabe is going to
    start handing Medals of Honor to people who have been subject to discrimination
    in the military.

    If a black soldier is called the “N” word, or a homosexual is called a rod smoking turd
    burglar, this will be considered grounds for the award of our nations highest honor.
    In the future, you may be awarded the MOH for having your feelings hurt!

    If this is true, there is no meaning left to this once meaningful award. If you start
    passing them out like Tic Tacs they will no longer be what they once were.

  2. antzinpantz says:

    Ye, I saw that, too, and will post it tomorrow with a story about another real MOH winner.

  3. bogsidebunny says:

    God Bless Walter Ehlers and all those who selfless sacrifices made America the greatest nation on earth. May he Rest in Peace. I salute you Sir!

    May the Lord smite and cast into eternal damnation all those who are currently purposely destroying the country Mr. Ehlers fought and shed blood for.

  4. bobf says:

    No flags ordered flown at half staff. No national morning. Same thing for Robert Hall, the longest held POW in American history who endured seven years of brutal torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Shirley Temple didn’t get flags flown at half staff for her even though she was a child star, representative, and American Ambassador. I guess you have to be a perverted doped up celebrity like Whitney Houston.

  5. TomR,armed in Texas says:

    Bob – the longest held American POW was Major Floyd Thompson. He was a Special Forces major who was held POW by the VC/NVA for over 8 years.

    The MOH has been tampered with by politicians as the Nobel Prize has been politicized. Reportedly Nixon demanded a Black soldier be given an MOH in a highly publicized ceremony. True or not I don’t know. If true that Black soldier may well have earned his medal. It”s just that using the medal politically demeans it. Of course obama is going to use the MOH to highlight himself. I hope he is eventually highlighted in the caverns of Hell.

  6. bobf says:

    I stand corrected Tom. I was going by the article in the Air Force Times. Maj. Thompson did nine years.

  7. TomR,armed in Texas says:

    Bob – I met Major Thompson at a POW/Vietnam veterans function in Dallas in 1973. This was just weeks after the final POWs were released. Ross Perot footed the bill for the function which included Bob Hope in the Cotton Bowl. My picture had been in the Dallas Morning News that day as a Vietnam vet watching the Welcome Home parade in downtown Dallas. Major Thompson walked up to me and thanked me for my service. It was several days later when I learned who he was and his story. Sadly he died many years later of alcholism and a broken spirit.

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