Read the latest entry in the Medal of Honor Blog: Six Medal of Honor Recipients who Saved Lives Between the Lines

Click here to read.

 

 

Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

or
  • Filter Recipient Database here
    • Service Branch
    • Conflict / Era
    • Additional Filters
      -  
    or

World War II - U.S. Army

William Adolph Soderman

Details
  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company K, 9th Infantry,
    2d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 17, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Rocherath, Belgium
Citation
Armed with a bazooka, he defended a key road junction near Rocherath, Belgium, on 17 December 1944, during the German Ardennes counteroffensive. After a heavy artillery barrage had wounded and forced the withdrawal of his assistant, he heard enemy tanks approaching the position where he calmly waited in the gathering darkness of early evening until the five Mark V tanks which made up the hostile force were within point-blank range. He then stood up, completely disregarding the firepower that could be brought to bear upon him, and launched a rocket into the lead tank, setting it afire and forcing its crew to abandon it as the other tanks pressed on before Pfc. Soderman could reload. The daring bazookaman remained at his post all night under severe artillery, mortar, and machine-gun fire, awaiting the next onslaught, which was made shortly after dawn by five more tanks. Running along a ditch to meet them, he reached an advantageous point and there leaped to the road in full view of the tank gunners, deliberately aimed his weapon and disabled the lead tank. The other vehicles, thwarted by a deep ditch in their attempt to go around the crippled machine, withdrew. While returning to his post Pfc. Soderman, braving heavy fire to attack an enemy infantry platoon from close range, killed at least three Germans and wounded several others with a round from his bazooka. By this time, enemy pressure had made Company K's position untenable. Orders were issued for withdrawal to an assembly area, where Pfc. Soderman was located when he once more heard enemy tanks approaching. Knowing that elements of the company had not completed their disengaging maneuver and were consequently extremely vulnerable to an armored attack, he hurried from his comparatively safe position to meet the tanks. Once more he disabled the lead tank with a single rocket, his last; but before he could reach cover, machine-gun bullets from the tank ripped into his right shoulder. Unarmed and seriously wounded he dragged himself along a ditch to the American lines and was evacuated. Through his unfaltering courage against overwhelming odds, Pfc. Soderman contributed in great measure to the defense of Rocherath, exhibiting to a superlative degree the intrepidity and heroism with which American soldiers met and smashed the savage power of the last great German offensive.
Medal of Honor Recipient William A. Soderman
Medal of Honor Recipient William A. Soderman
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: West Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: October 12, 1945
    The White House, presented by Pres. Harry S. Truman
  • Born: March 20, 1912, West Haven, New Haven County, CT, United States
  • Died: October 20, 1980, West Haven, CT, United States
  • Buried: Oak Grove Cemetery (MH) (S1/2- A56-1), West Haven, CT, United States
 

Questions? For More Information Contact Us!