Fort Riley, Kansas

 

News

Staff Sgt. Walter Ehlers' Medal of Honor Citation

By US Army | February 27, 2014

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on June 9-10, 1944, near Goville, France.

Staff 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 Staff Sgt. 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 in route. Then crawling forward under withering machine gun fire, he pounced upon the gun crew and put it 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 singlehanded.

The next day, having advanced deep into enemy territory, the platoon of which Staff 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, Staff Sgt. Ehlers, after his squad had covered the withdraw 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 Sgt. Ehlers in the face of overwhelming enemy forces serve as an inspiration to others.