Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Harold O Messerschmidt

  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company L, 30th Infantry,
    3d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: September 17, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Radden, France

He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Braving machine-gun, machine pistol, and rifle fire, he moved fearlessly and calmly from man to man along his 40-yard squad front, encouraging each to hold against the overwhelming assault of a fanatical foe surging up the hillside. Knocked to the ground by a burst from an enemy automatic weapon, he immediately jumped to his feet, and ignoring his grave wounds, fired his submachine gun at the enemy that was now upon them, killing five and wounding many others before his ammunition was spent. Virtually surrounded by a frenzied foe and all of his squad now casualties, he elected to fight alone, using his empty submachine gun as a bludgeon against his assailants. Spotting one of the enemy about to kill a wounded comrade, he felled the German with a blow of his weapon. Seeing friendly reinforcements running up the hill, he continued furiously to wield his empty gun against the foe in a new attack, and it was thus that he made the supreme sacrifice. Sgt. Messerschmidt's sustained heroism in hand-to-hand combat with superior enemy forces was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

Medal of Honor Recipient Harold O. Messerschmidt
Medal of Honor Recipient Harold O. Messerschmidt
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Born: 1924, Grier City, Schuylkill County, PA, United States
  • Died: September 17, 1944, France
  • Buried: Christ White Church Cemetery, Hometown, Rush Township, PA, United States

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