Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Korean War - U.S. Army

Lee Ross Hartell

  • Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: Korean War
  • Unit/Command:
    Battery A, 15th Field Artillery Battalion,
    2d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: August 27, 1951
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Kobangsan-ni, Korea
1st Lt. Hartell, a member of Battery A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. During the darkness of early morning, the enemy launched a ruthless attack against friendly positions on a rugged mountainous ridge. 1st Lt. Hartell, attached to Company B, 9th Infantry Regiment, as forward observer, quickly moved his radio to an exposed vantage on the ridgeline to adjust defensive fires. Realizing the tactical advantage of illuminating the area of approach, he called for flares and then directed crippling fire into the onrushing assailants. At this juncture a large force of hostile troops swarmed up the slope in banzai charge and came within 10 yards of 1st Lt. Hartell's position. 1st Lt. Hartell sustained a severe hand wound in the ensuing encounter, but grasped the microphone with his other hand and maintained his magnificent stand until the front and left flank of the company were protected by a close-in wall of withering fire, causing the fanatical foe to disperse and fall back momentarily. After the numerically superior enemy overran an outpost and was closing on his position, 1st Lt. Hartell, in a final radio call, urged the friendly elements to fire both batteries continuously. Although mortally wounded, 1st Lt. Hartell's intrepid actions contributed significantly to stemming the onslaught and enabled his company to maintain the strategic strongpoint. His consummate valor and unwavering devotion to duty reflect lasting glory on himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.
Medal of Honor Recipient Lee R. Hartell
Medal of Honor Recipient Lee R. Hartell
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 16, 1952
    The Pentagon, presented by the Sec. of Defense Robert A. Lovett to his Widow
  • Born: August 23, 1923, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA, United States
  • Died: August 27, 1951, Hill 700, South Korea
  • Buried: St. Peter's Cemetery (MH) (10-197) , Danbury, CT, United States

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