Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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World War II - U.S. Army

Ernest Herbert Dervishian

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant (rank at time of action: Technical Sergeant)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company B, 133d Infantry,
    34th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: May 23, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Cisterna, Italy

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, in the vicinity of Cisterna, Italy. Second Lt. Dervishian (then TSgt.) and four members of his platoon found themselves far ahead of their company after an aggressive advance in the face of enemy artillery and sniper fire. Approaching a railroad embankment, they observed a force of German soldiers hiding in dugouts. Second Lt. Dervishian, directing his men to cover him, boldly moved forward and, firing his carbine, forced 10 Germans to surrender. His men then advanced and captured 15 more Germans occupying adjacent dugouts. The prisoners were returned to the rear to be picked up by advancing units. From the railroad embankment, 2d Lt. Dervishian and his men then observed nine Germans who were fleeing across a ridge. He and his men opened fire and three of the enemy were wounded. As his men were firing, 2d Lt. Dervishian, unnoticed, fearlessly dashed forward alone and captured all of the fleeing enemy before his companions joined him on the ridge. At this point four other men joined 2d Lt. Dervishian's group. An attempt was made to send the four newly arrived men along the left flank of a large, dense vineyard that lay ahead, but murderous machine-gun fire forced them back. Deploying his men, 2d Lt. Dervishian moved to the front of his group and led the advance into the vineyard. He and his men suddenly became pinned down by a machine gun firing at them at a distance of 15 yards. Feigning death while the hostile weapon blazed away at him, 2d Lt. Dervishian assaulted the position during a halt in the firing, using a hand-grenade and carbine fire, and forced the four German crewmembers to surrender. The four men on the left flank were now ordered to enter the vineyard but encountered machine-gun fire which killed one soldier and wounded another. At this moment the enemy intensified the fight by throwing potato-masher grenades at the valiant band of American soldiers within the vineyard. Second Lt. Dervishian ordered his men to withdraw; but instead of following, jumped into the machine-gun position he had just captured and opened fire with the enemy weapon in the direction of the second hostile machine-gun nest. Observing movement in a dugout two or three yards to the rear, 2d Lt. Dervishian seized a machine-pistol. Simultaneously blazing away at the entrance to the dugout to prevent its occupants from firing and firing his machine gun at the other German nest, he forced five Germans in each position to surrender. Determined to rid the area of all Germans, 2d Lt. Dervishian continued his advance alone. Noticing another machine-gun position beside a house, he picked up an abandoned machine-pistol and forced six more Germans to surrender by spraying their position with fire. Unable to locate additional targets in the vicinity, 2d Lt. Dervishian conducted these prisoners to the rear. The prodigous courage and combat skill exhibited by 2d Lt. Dervishian are exemplary of the finest traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ernest H. Dervishian
Medal of Honor Recipient Ernest H. Dervishian
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Richmond, Virginia
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 12, 1945

    Piamaggio, Italy, presented by Gen. Mark Clark

  • Born: August 10, 1916, Richmond, VA, United States
  • Died: May 20, 1984, Richmond, VA, United States
  • Buried: West Hampton Memorial Park (1-83), Richmond, VA, United States

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