Sgt Kenneth E. Gruennert
U.S. Army, 32nd
Infantry Division, 127th Infantry Regiment, Company L
Born in Jefferson, Wisconsin. Joined the U.S. Army in Helenville, Wisconsin. Assigned to the 32nd Infantry Division, 127th Infantry Regiment, Company L in New Guinea.
On December 24, 1942 during the Battle of Buna Sgt Gruennert was part of a group of soldiers tasked with driving to the coast. Alone, he advanced and neutralized an enemy pillbox with hand grenades and rifle fire. Despite being wounded in the shoulder, he bandaged himself and refused to leave his men and attacked a second pillbox allowing his men to neutralize the position but was shot by enemy snipers. Despite this, his platoon was was first to reach the beach and split the enemy's defense.
|Posthumous Medal of Honor (12 September 1943 to 3 January 1944)
Citation: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the
call of duty. On 24 December 1942, near Buna, New Guinea, Sgt. Gruennert
was second in command of a platoon with a mission to drive through the enemy
lines to the beach 600 yards ahead. Within 150 yards of the objective, the
platoon encountered 2 hostile pillboxes. Sgt. Gruennert advanced alone on
the first and put it out of action with hand grenades and rifle fire, killing
3 of the enemy. Seriously wounded in the shoulder, he bandaged his wound
under cover of the pillbox, refusing to withdraw to the aid station and leave
his men. He then, with undiminished daring, and under extremely heavy fire,
attacked the second pillbox. As he neared it he threw grenades which forced
the enemy out where they were easy targets for his platoon. Before the leading
elements of his platoon could reach him he was shot by enemy snipers. His
inspiring valor cleared the way for his platoon which was the first to attain
the beach in this successful effort to split the enemy position. "
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