Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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World War II - U.S. Army

William J Grabiarz

Details
  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Troop E, 5th Cavalry,
    1st Cavalry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 23, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands
Citation
He was a scout when the unit advanced with tanks along a street in Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands. Without warning, enemy machine guns and rifle fire from concealed positions in the Customs building swept the street, striking down the troop commander and driving his men to cover. As the officer lay in the open road, unable to move and completely exposed to the point-blank enemy fire, Pfc. Grabiarz voluntarily ran from behind a tank to carry him to safety, but was himself wounded in the shoulder. Ignoring both the pain in his injured, useless arm and his comrades' shouts to seek the cover which was only a few yards distant, the valiant rescuer continued his efforts to drag his commander out of range. Finding this impossible, he rejected the opportunity to save himself and deliberately covered the officer with his own body to form a human shield, calling as he did so for a tank to maneuver into position between him and the hostile emplacement. The enemy riddled him with concentrated fire before the tank could interpose itself. Our troops found that he had been successful in preventing bullets from striking his leader, who survived. Through his magnificent sacrifice in gallantly giving his life to save that of his commander, Pfc. Grabiarz provided an outstanding and lasting inspiration to his fellow soldiers.
Medal of Honor Recipient William J. Grabiarz
Medal of Honor Recipient William J. Grabiarz
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Buffalo, Erie County, New York
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Born: 1925, Buffalo, Erie County, NY, United States
  • Died: February 23, 1945, Manila, Philippine Islands
  • Buried: St. Stanislaws Cemetery (PM) (WWII Sec.), Cheektowaga, NY, United States
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