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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War I - U.S. Marine Corps

Louis Cukela

  • Rank: Sergeant (Highest Rank: Major)
  • Conflict/Era: World War I
  • Unit/Command:
    66th Rifle Company, 5th Regiment,
    2d Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: July 18, 1918
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Villers-Cotterets, France

[Received both the Army and Navy Medal of Honor for the same deed.]

Army Medal of Honor: When his company, advancing through a wood, met with strong resistance from an enemy strong point, Sgt. Cukela crawled out from the flank and made his way toward the German lines in the face of heavy fire, disregarding the warnings of his comrades. He succeeded in getting behind the enemy position and rushed a machine-gun emplacement, killing or driving off the crew with his bayonet. With German hand grenades he then bombed out the remaining portion of the strong point, capturing four men and two damaged machine guns. Navy Medal of Honor For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 66th Company, 5th Regiment, during action in the Forest de Retz, near Viller-Cottertes, France, 18 July 1918. Sgt. Cukela advanced alone against an enemy strong point that was holding up his line. Disregarding the warnings of his comrades, he crawled out from the flank in the face of heavy fire and worked his way to the rear of the enemy position. Rushing a machine-gun emplacement, he killed or drove off the crew with his bayonet, bombed out the remaining part of the strong point with German hand grenades, and captured two machine guns and four men.

Medal of Honor Recipient Louis Cukela
Medal of Honor Recipient Louis Cukela
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: March 15, 1919

    by General John J. Pershing at Coblenz, Germany.

  • Born: May 1, 1888, Spalato, Yugoslavia
  • Died: March 19, 1956, Bethesda, MD, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (1-427-A), Arlington, VA, United States

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