Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: William

Last Name: Jecelin

Birthplace: Baltimore, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Baltimore, MD
Middle Name: R.

Date of Birth: 26 May 1930

Date of Death: 19 September 1950

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served:
William R. Jecelin

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


William R. Jecelin
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

William R. Jecelin was born 26 May 1930 in Baltimore, MD, and joined the U.S. Army from that location. After attending training he was sent to fight in Korea as a Sergeant in Company C, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.

On 19 September 1950, Jecelin's company was ordered to secure a ridge that was occupied by Korean forces. They attacked as ordered, but the first attempt to take the hill failed. They tried a second time and this time Jecelin led his platoon through heavy enemy fire advancing to the base of the cliff where the attack was stopped again due to enemy fire. He determined that a direct assault was the only way to gain control of the hill so he began firing his rifle and throwing grenades at the enemy position, calling to his men to follow him. The American troops were able to make it to the crest of the hill before being forced to take cover from enemy fire, before attempting another assault. They attached bayonets for hand-to-hand combat and were able to defeat a portion of the enemy before being forced to take cover after receiving fire from another group of enemy forces in the area. When they began attacking this new group, one of the enemy soldiers threw a grenade at the incoming Americans. Sergeant Jecelin dove onto the grenade, smothering the blast with his body and saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. He was killed in the blast. For this action he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division

Place and date: Near Saga, Korea, 19 September 1950


Sgt. Jecelin, Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and Intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. His company was ordered to secure a prominent, sawtoothed ridge from a well-entrenched and heavily armed enemy. Unable to capture the objective in the first attempt, a frontal and flanking assault was launched. He led his platoon through heavy enemy fire and bursting shells, across rice fields and rocky terrain, in direct frontal attack on the ridge in order to draw fire away from the flanks. The unit advanced to the base of the cliff, where intense, accurate hostile fire stopped the attack. Realizing that an assault was the only solution, Sgt. Jecelin rose from his position firing his rifle and throwing grenades as he called on his men to follow him. Despite the intense enemy fire this attack carried to the crest of the ridge where the men were forced to take cover. Again he rallied his men and stormed the enemy strong point. With fixed bayonets they charged into the face of antitank fire and engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. After clubbing and slashing this force into submission the platoon was forced to take cover from direct frontal fire of a self-propelled gun. Refusing to be stopped he leaped to his feet and through sheer personal courage and fierce determination led his men in a new attack. At this instant a well-camouflaged enemy soldier threw a grenade at the remaining members of the platoon. He immediately lunged and covered the grenade with his body, absorbing the full force of the explosion to save those around him. This incredible courage and willingness to sacrifice himself for his comrades so imbued them with fury that they completely eliminated the enemy force. Sgt. Jecelin's heroic leadership and outstanding gallantry reflect the highest credit upon himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of the military service.

Medals, Awards & Badges

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Combat Infantryman Badge

Death and Burial

Sergeant Jecelin was killed in action on 19 September 1950. His body was returned to the United States after his death and is buried at Bohemian National Cemetery in Baltimore, MD.

Honoree ID: 1176   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image