Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Army 1
07 Jun 1919 2
Huntington, West Virginia 3
03 Apr 1945 4
Birken, Germany 5

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Personal Details

Walter C Wetzel 1
Level of Education: Grammar school 1
Marital Status: Single, without dependents 1
07 Jun 1919 2
Huntington, West Virginia 2
Male 2
1919 1
West Virginia 1
03 Apr 1945 3
Birken, Germany 3
Cause: threw himself on enemy grenade to save others; posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor 3

World War II 1

Army 1
Enlistment Date:
09 Jul 1941 1
Army Branch:
Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA 1
Army Component:
Selectees (Enlisted Men) 1
Army Serial Number:
36122654 1
Enlistment Place:
Detroit Michigan 1
Source of Army Personnel:
Civil Life 1
Semiskilled occupations in manufacture of automobiles, n.e.c. 1
Race or Ethnicity:
White 1
Source Information:
Box Number: 1036 1
Film Reel Number: 5.98 1

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Medal of Honor Citation

Birken, Germany


Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 13th Infantry, 8th Infantry Division. Place and date: Birken, Germany, 3 April 1945. Entered service at: Roseville, Mich. Birth: Huntington, W. Va. G.O. No.: 21, 26 February 1946. Citation: Private First Class Wetzel, an acting squad leader with the Antitank Company of the 13th Infantry, was guarding his platoon's command post in a house at Birken, Germany, during the early morning hours of 3 April 1945, when he detected strong enemy forces moving in to attack. He ran into the house, alerted the occupants and immediately began defending the post against heavy automatic weapons fire coming from the hostile troops. Under cover of darkness the Germans forced their way close to the building where they hurled grenades, 2 of which landed in the room where Private First Class Wetzel and the others had taken up firing positions. Shouting a warning to his fellow soldiers, Private First Class Wetzel threw himself on the grenades and, as they exploded, absorbed their entire blast, suffering wounds from which he died. The supreme gallantry of Private First Class Wetzel saved his comrades from death or serious injury and made it possible for them to continue the defense of the command post and break the power of a dangerous local counterthrust by the enemy. His unhesitating sacrifice of his life was in keeping with the U.S. Army's highest traditions of bravery and heroism.

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