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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Silvestre Santana Herrera

  • Rank: Private First Class (Highest Rank: Sergeant)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Company E, 2d Battalion, 142d Infantry,
    36th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: March 15, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Merzwiller, France

He advanced with a platoon along a wooded road until stopped by heavy enemy machine-gun fire. As the rest of the unit took cover, he made a one-man frontal assault on a strongpoint and captured eight enemy soldiers. When the platoon resumed its advance and was subjected to fire from a second emplacement beyond an extensive minefield, Pvt. Herrera again moved forward, disregarding the danger of exploding mines, to attack the position. He stepped on a mine and had both feet severed; but, despite intense pain and unchecked loss of blood, he pinned down the enemy with accurate rifle fire while a friendly squad captured the enemy gun by skirting the minefield and rushing in from the flank. The magnificent courage, extraordinary heroism, and willing self-sacrifice displayed by Pvt. Herrera resulted in the capture of two enemy strongpoints and the taking of eight prisoners.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: August 23, 1945

    The White House, presented by Pres. Harry S. Truman

  • Born: December 31, 1916, Chihuahua, Mexico
  • Died: November 26, 2007, Glendale, AZ, United States
  • Buried: Resthaven Park Cemetery, Glendale, AZ, United States

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