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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Korean War - U.S. Army

Samuel Streit Coursen

  • Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: Korean War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company C, 5th Cavalry Regiment,
    1st Cavalry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 12, 1950
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Kaesong, Korea
First Lt. Coursen distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. While Company C was attacking Hill 174 under heavy enemy small-arms fire, his platoon received enemy fire from close-range. The platoon returned the fire and continued to advance. During this phase, one of his men moved into a well-camouflaged emplacement, which was thought to be unoccupied, and was wounded by the enemy who were hidden within the emplacement. Seeing the soldier in difficulty, he rushed to the man's aid and, without regard for his personal safety, engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat in an effort to protect his wounded comrade until he himself was killed. When his body was recovered after the battle, seven enemy dead were found in the emplacement. As the result of 1st Lt. Coursen's violent struggle several of the enemies' heads had been crushed with his rifle. His aggressive and intrepid actions saved the life of the wounded man, eliminated the main position of the enemy roadblock, and greatly inspired the men in his command. First Lt. Coursen's extraordinary heroism and intrepidity refect the highest credit on himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service.
Medal of Honor Recipient Samuel S. Coursen
Medal of Honor Recipient Samuel S. Coursen
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Madison, Morris County, New Jersey
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: June 21, 1951
    The Pentagon, presented by Gen. Omar N. Bradley to his Son
  • Born: August 4, 1926, Madison, Morris County, NJ, United States
  • Died: October 12, 1950, Kaesong, Korea
  • Buried: U.S. Military Academy Cemetery ((MH) 7-230), West Point, NY, United States

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