He alone made it possible for his company to advance until its objective was seized.
– Medal of Honor Citation, General Order # 45, June 12, 1945

That’s how Staff Sergeant Paul J. Wiedorfer’s Medal of Honor citation begins.

Paul J Wiedorfer medal of honor recipient

Medal of Honor recipient Paul J. Wiedorfer. Photo courtesy cmohs.org.

The day was clear. The air was cold. Three inches of new-fallen snow blanketed the ground. The platoon was pinned down by enemy fire from two machinegun nests.

So Wiedorfer charged.

He destroyed one position. He overwhelmed the second. Minutes later when platoon leader and platoon sergeant were wounded, he took command and led the platoon to the objective.

What magnificent gifts—putting one’s own life in grave danger to save the lives of others, inspiring others with an enduring example of duty, courage, and selflessness.

That was Christmas Day 1944 near Chaumont, Belgium.

He alone made it possible for his company to advance until its objective was seized.

My wish for all of us this holiday season is that we remember the immense potential for one person to do good. And then join hands and see what all we can accomplish together for the Veterans we serve.

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One Comment

  1. Edwin L. Harmon December 23, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Inspiring message Mr. Secretary. Thank you for sharing Ssgt Wiedorfers’ heroic WWII story.
    Together we served…Together we can accomplish anything!
    Thank you sir,

    Ssgt. E.L. Harmon
    USAF ’68-’75

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