WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Walter Ehlers Endorses the Petition Mar 20. 2011 | Comments (0)
Mr. Ehlers landed on "Omaha Beach" in the first assault element of the second wave. He is the last surviving D-Day Medal of Honor recipient. He earned the Medal of Honor as a Squad Leader on D+3 at Goville, France.
Mr. Ehlers had orinally been a member of the 3rd Division but shortly after shipping oversea's had been transferred to the 1st Division.
The historical events of the 1st Infantry Division are very well depicted in the 1980 Samual Fuller film, "The Big Red One" starring Lee Marvin.
Mr. Ehlers and his brother both served in North Africa and at Anzio with the 1st Division. He later learned that his brother had been killed at "Omaha Beach" during the landings there but it was six weeks later before he was notified.
Here is his 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."
Here is a link to his bio:
Mr. Ehlers made a brief appearance in the film, "The Long Gray Line" with Tyrone Power in 1955.
Thus far 20, of our Nation's 85 living Medal of Honor recipients have signed the Petition.