Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

  • Filter Recipient Database here
    • Service Branch
    • Conflict / Era
    • Additional Filters

World War II - U.S. Marine Corps

Henry Gurke

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company M, 3d Marine Raider Battalion, 2d Marines,
    1st Marine Amphibious Corps
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 9, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville Island, Solomon Islands
For extraordinary heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 3d Marine Raider Battalion during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area on 9 November 1943. While his platoon was engaged in the defense of a vital road block near Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville Island, Pfc. Gurke, in company with another marine, was delivering a fierce stream of fire against the main vanguard of the Japanese. Concluding from the increasing ferocity of grenade barrages that the enemy was determined to annihilate their small, two-man foxhole, he resorted to a bold and desperate measure for holding out despite the torrential hail of shells. When a Japanese grenade dropped squarely into the foxhole, Pfc. Gurke, mindful that his companion manned an automatic weapon of superior firepower and therefore could provide more effective resistance, thrust him roughly aside and flung his own body over the missile to smother the explosion. With unswerving devotion to duty and superb valor, Pfc. Gurke sacrificed himself in order that his comrade might live to carry on the fight. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
Medal of Honor Recipient Henry Gurke
Medal of Honor Recipient Henry Gurke
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: North Dakota
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: Washington, D.C. The Navy Department - Presented to his parents
  • Born: November 6, 1922, Neche, Pembina County, ND, United States
  • Died: November 9, 1943, Bougainville, Solomon Islands
  • Buried: Neche Union Cemetery (MH), Neche, ND, United States
  • Location of Medal: North Dakota State Historical Society, Bismarck, ND

Questions? For More Information Contact Us!