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First Name: Ernest

Last Name: West

Birthplace: Russell, KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Wurtland, KY
Middle Name: Edison

Date of Birth: 02 September 1931

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1950 - 1953
Ernest Edison West

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Ernest Edison "Ernie" West
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Ernest Edison "Ernie" West was born on 2 September 1931, in Russell, KY. West was raised in an orphanage at the Methodist Children's Home in Versailles, KY.

West joined the Army from nearby Wurtland. On 12 October 1952, he was serving in Korea as a Private First Class with Company L, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. After his unit was ambushed near Sataeri on that day, he ran through heavy fire to rescue his wounded commander. As he was pulling the man to safety, three hostile soldiers attacked. West shielded the commander with his body and killed the attackers with his rifle, suffering a wound which resulted in the loss of his eye in the process. Despite this injury, he remained on the field and assisted in the evacuation of other wounded men, at one point killing three more hostile soldiers.

For his heroic actions, West was awarded the U.S. military's highest award, the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division

Place and date: Near Sataeri, Korea, 12 October 1952

G.O. No.: 7, 29 January 1954


Pfc. West distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. He voluntarily accompanied a contingent to locate and destroy a reported enemy outpost. Nearing the objective, the patrol was ambushed and suffered numerous casualties. Observing his wounded leader lying in an exposed position, Pfc. West ordered the troops to withdraw, then braved intense fire to reach and assist him. While attempting evacuation, he was attacked by 3 hostile soldiers employing grenades and small-arms fire. Quickly shifting his body to shelter the officer, he killed the assailants with his rifle, then carried the helpless man to safety. He was critically wounded and lost an eye in this action. but courageously returned through withering fire and bursting shells to assist the wounded. While evacuating 2 comrades, he closed with and killed 3 more of the foe. Pfc. West's indomitable spirit, consummate valor, and intrepid actions inspired all who observed him, reflect the highest credit on himself, and uphold the honored traditions of the military service.

PFC Ernest Edison "Ernie" West was awarded the Medal of Honor on 29 January 1954.

Other Medals

In addition to the Medal of Honor, West was awarded the Purple Heart.

Post-War Life

Ernie returned to visit the Methodist Children's Home a few years after receiving the Medal of Honor.

West currently lives in Wurtland, KY.

Honoree ID: 1252   Created by: MHOH




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