Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Ralph George Neppel

  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company M, 329th Infantry,
    83d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 14, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Birgel, Germany
He was a leader of a machine-gun squad defending an approach to the village of Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen, counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked the foot soldiers beside the tank, killing several of them. The enemy armor continued to press forward, and, at the point-blank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his gun, had one leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position on his elbows, remounted his gun, and killed the remaining enemy riflemen. Stripped of its infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke a determined counterattack.
Medal of Honor Recipient Ralph G. Neppel
Medal of Honor Recipient Ralph G. Neppel
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Glidden, Carroll County, Iowa
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: August 23, 1945
    The White House, presented by Pres. Harry S. Truman
  • Born: October 31, 1923, Willey, Carroll County, IA, United States
  • Died: January 27, 1987, Iowa City, IA, United States
  • Buried: Holy Family Cemetery (MH), Lidderdale, IA, United States

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