Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Navy

Reinhardt John Keppler

  • Rank: Boatswain's Mate First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S.S. San Francisco
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 12 - 13, 1942
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Iron Bottom Sound, Savo Island, Solomon Islands
For extraordinary heroism and distinguished courage above and beyond the call of duty while serving aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands, 12-13 November 1942. When a hostile torpedo plane, during a daylight air raid, crashed on the after machine-gun platform, Keppler promptly assisted in removal of the dead and, by his capable supervision of the wounded, undoubtedly helped save the lives of several shipmates who otherwise might have perished. That night, when the ship's hangar was set afire during the great battle off Savo Island, he bravely led a hose into the starboard side of the stricken area and there, without assistance and despite frequent hits from terrific enemy bombardment, eventually brought the fire under control. Later, although mortally wounded, he labored valiantly in the midst of bursting shells, persistently directing firefighting operations and administering to wounded personnel until he finally collapsed from loss of blood. His great personal valor, maintained with utter disregard of personal safety, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Medal of Honor Recipient Reinhardt J. Keppler
Medal of Honor Recipient Reinhardt J. Keppler
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Washington
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: September 17, 1943
    Naval District Headquarters, San Francisco, California, presented by Vice Adm. John W. Greensale to his Widow
  • Born: January 22, 1918, Ralston, Adams County, WA, United States
  • Died: November 15, 1942, New Hebrides Naval Hospital, New Hebrides
  • Buried: Golden Gate National Cemetery (MH) (C-379), San Bruno, CA, United States
  • Location of Medal: Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum, Vallejo, CA

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