Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Kenneth E Gruennert

  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company L, 127th Infantry,
    32d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 24, 1942
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Buna, New Guinea
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 24 December 1942, near Buna, New Guinea, Sgt. Gruennert was second in command of a platoon with a misssion to drive through the enemy lines to the beach 600 yards ahead. Within 150 yards of the objective, the platoon encountered two hostile pillboxes. Sgt. Gruennert advanced alone on the first and put it out of action with hand grenades and rifle fire, killing three of the enemy. Seriously wounded in the shoulder, he bandaged his wound under cover of the pillbox, refusing to withdraw to the aid station and leave his men. He then, with undiminished daring, and under extremely heavy fire, attacked the second pillbox. As he neared it he threw grenades which forced the enemy out where they were easy targets for his platoon. Before the leading elements of his platoon could reach him he was shot by enemy snipers. His inspiring valor cleared the way for his platoon which was the first to attain the beach in this successful effort to split the enemy position.
Medal of Honor Recipient Kenneth E. Gruennert
Medal of Honor Recipient Kenneth E. Gruennert
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Helenville, Jefferson County, Wisconsin
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: The Medal was sent to the parents at their request in the mail
  • Born: November 19, 1922, Helenville, Jefferson County, WI, United States
  • Died: December 24, 1942, near Buna, New Guinea
  • Buried: Helenville-Evergreen Lutheran Cemetery (I-7-78), Helenville, WI, United States
  • Location of Medal: Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Madison, WI

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