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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Howard E Woodford

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company I, 130th Infantry,
    33d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 6, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Tabio, Luzon, Philippine Islands
He volunteered to investigate the delay in a scheduled attack by an attached guerrilla battalion. Reaching the line of departure, he found that the lead company, in combat for the first time, was immobilized by intense enemy mortar, machine-gun, and rifle fire which had caused casualties to key personnel. Knowing that further failure to advance would endanger the flanks of adjacent units as well as delay capture of the objective, he immediately took command of the company, evacuated the wounded, reorganized the unit under fire, and prepared to attack. He repeatedly exposed himself to draw revealing fire from the Japanese strongpoints and then moved forward with a five-man covering force to determine exact enemy positions. Although intense enemy machine-gun fire killed two and wounded his other three men, S/Sgt. Woodford resolutely continued his patrol before returning to the company. Then, against bitter resistance, he guided the guerrillas up a barren hill and captured the objective, personally accounting for two hostile machine gunners and courageously reconnoitering strong defensive positions before directing neutralizing fire. After organizing a perimeter defense for the night, he was given permission by radio to return to his battalion, but, feeling that he was needed to maintain proper control, he chose to remain with the guerrillas. Before dawn the next morning the enemy launched a fierce suicide attack with mortars, grenades, and small-arms fire, and infiltrated through the perimeter. Though wounded by a grenade, S/Sgt. Woodford remained at his post calling for mortar support until bullets knocked out his radio. Then, seizing a rifle he began working his way around the perimeter, encouraging the men until he reached a weak spot where two guerrillas had been killed. Filling the gap himself, he fought off the enemy. At daybreak he was found dead in his foxhole, but 37 enemy dead were lying in and around his position. By his daring, skillful, and inspiring leadership as well as by his gallant determination to search out and kill the enemy, S/Sgt. Woodford led an inexperienced unit in capturing and securing a vital objective and was responsible for the successful continuance of a vitally important general advance.
Medal of Honor Recipient Howard E. Woodford
Medal of Honor Recipient Howard E. Woodford
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Barberton, Summit County, Ohio
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Born: June 21, 1921, Barberton, Summit County, OH, United States
  • Died: June 6, 1945, near Tabio, Luzon, Philippine Islands
  • Buried: Greenlawn Memorial Park (MH) (I-141-3), Akron, OH, United States

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