Editor’s note: This Veterans Day Voice of OC is publishing a series of plaques honoring some of Orange County’s most decorated veterans. Walter Ehlers was born in Junction City, Kansas on May 7, 1921. He also received a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts. February 20, 2014
The President of the United States of America, authorized by
Act of Congress, 3 March 1863, has awarded the Medal of Honor to
Staff Sergeant Walter D. Ehlers
United States Army
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry in action at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 9–10 June 1944, near Goville, France. SSgt Walter Ehlers, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, repeatedly led his men against heavily defended positions exposing himself to deadly fire whenever the situation required courageous leadership.
SSgt. Ehlers scouting ahead of his men, led his squad against a strong enemy position, personally killing four of an enemy patrol who attacked him in route. Crawling forward under heavy small arms fire, SSgt. Ehlers destroyed a machine gun position single-handedly. SSgt. Ehlers then while leading his platoon knocked out a mortar and two machine gun positions.
The next day, SSgt. Ehlers squad was an element of a platoon found itself in an untenable position and was ordered to withdraw. After his squad covered the withdrawal of the remainder of the platoon, SSgt. Ehlers stood up and by constant fire diverted the bulk of the enemy fire upon himself, permitting the rest of his quad to retire. Although he was wounded, he carried his wounded automatic rifleman to safety and then returned to retrieve the automatic rifle. After having his wounds treated, he refused to be evacuated and returned to lead his squad.
The intrepid leadership, courage, and fearlessness, displayed by SSgt. Ehlers serve as an inspiration to others.
Orange County Walk of Honor by AMVETS
More about Walter D. Ehlers:
- Walter Ehlers, Medal of Honor, WWII – Medal of Honor: Oral Histories “We call ourselves recipients, and people call us winners, and as you see we’re not winners because we were not in a competition, we weren’t trying to win anything. We happened to recognized by our fellow men, and so we wear this medal to honor them and to honor the guys that really paid the supreme sacrifice, because we are here today because of them.” His brother died in the war.
- Sgt. Walter Ehlers, WWII Medal of Honor Recipient, Dies at 92 (NBC News)
- Walter D. Ehlers, Medal of Honor recipient who took part in D-Day, dies at 92 (Washington Post)
- Walter Ehlers, Medal of Honor, WWII – (Medal of Honor: Oral Histories )
- ‘Giant among giants,’ Medal of Honor recipient Ehlers laid to rest (US Army)
- Walter Ehlers World War II hero of D-Day, Medal of Honor recipient, dies at 92 (Medal of Honor News)
- Voice of OC to Publish Series on Veterans Memorial Plaques