Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Jesse Ray Drowley

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Weapons Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 132d Infantry,
    Americal Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: January 30, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Bougainville Island, Solomon Islands

For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy at Bougainville Island, Solomon Islands, 30 January 1944. SSgt. Drowley, a squad leader in a platoon whose mission during an attack was to remain under cover while holding the perimeter defense and acting as a reserve for assaulting echelon, saw three members of the assault company fall badly wounded. When intense hostile fire prevented aid from reaching the casualties, he fearlessly rushed forward to carry the wounded to cover. After rescuing two men, SSgt. Drowley discovered an enemy pillbox undetected by assaulting tanks that was inflicting heavy casualties upon the attacking force and was a chief obstacle to the success of the advance. Delegating the rescue of the third man to an assistant, he ran across open terrain to one of the tanks. Signaling to the crew, he climbed to the turret, exchanged his weapon for a submachine gun and voluntarily rode the deck of the tank directing it toward the pillbox by tracer fire. The tank, under constant heavy enemy fire, continued to within 20 feet of the pillbox where SSgt. Drowley received a severe bullet wound in the chest. Refusing to return for medical treatment, he remained on the tank and continued to direct its progress until the enemy box was definitely located by the crew. At this point he again was wounded by small-arms fire, losing his left eye and falling to the ground. He remained alongside the tank until the pillbox had been completely demolished and another directly behind the first destroyed. SSgt. Drowley, his voluntary mission successfully accomplished, returned alone for medical treatment.

Medal of Honor Recipient Jesse R. Drowley
Medal of Honor Recipient Jesse R. Drowley
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: August 30, 1944

    The White House, presented by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Born: September 13, 1919, St. Charles, Saginaw County, MI, United States
  • Died: May 15, 1996, Spokane, WA, United States
  • Buried: Fairmont Cemetery, Spokane, WA, United States

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