Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Ysmael Reyes Villegas

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company F, 127th Infantry,
    32d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: March 20, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands

He was a squad leader when his unit, in a forward position, clashed with an enemy strongly entrenched in connected caves and foxholes on commanding ground. He moved boldly from man to man, in the face of bursting grenades and demolition charges, through heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, to bolster the spirit of his comrades. Inspired by his gallantry, his men pressed forward to the crest of the hill. Numerous enemy riflemen, refusing to flee, continued firing from their foxholes. S/Sgt. Villegas, with complete disregard for his own safety and the bullets which kicked up the dirt at his feet, charged an enemy position and, firing at point-blank range, killed the Japanese in a foxhole. He rushed a second foxhole while bullets missed him by inches and killed one more of the enemy. In rapid succession he charged a third, a fourth, a fifth foxhole, each time destroying the enemy within. The fire against him increased in intensity, but he pressed onward to attack a sixth position. As he neared his goal, he was hit and killed by enemy fire. Through his heroism and indomitable fighting spirit, S/Sgt. Villegas, at the cost of his life, inspired his men to a determined attack in which they swept the enemy from the field.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ysmael R. Villegas
Medal of Honor Recipient Ysmael R. Villegas
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Casa Blanca, Riverside County, California
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: November 1, 1945

    Camp Haan, Riverside, California - presented by Colonel G. B. Appleman to his widow Mrs. Lillian Villegas

  • Born: March 21, 1924, Casa Blanca, Riverside County, CA, United States
  • Died: March 20, 1945, Villa Verde Trail, Philippine Islands
  • Buried: Riverside National Cemetery (MH) (5-1178), Riverside, CA, United States

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