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First Name: William

Last Name: Windrich

Birthplace: Chicago, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Gordon

Date of Birth: 14 May 1921

Date of Death: 02 December 1950

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 1938-1945, 1946-1950
William Gordon Windrich
'Windy Bill'

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


William Gordon "Windy Bill" Windrich
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

William Windrich was born on 14 May 1921 in Chicago, IL. He attended public schools in Hammond, IN. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve on 6 June 1938, and was ordered to active duty in November 1940.

World War II

During World War II, he spent 20 months overseas in the South Pacific as a machine gunner and saw action on Tarawa. Discharged in November 1945, he re-enlisted in the regular Marine Corps the following February.

Intra-War Years

In the summer of 1946, he participated in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll while serving aboard the USS Mount McKinley (LCC-7). After World War II, he served as a non-commissioned officer of the guard in Washington, DC, at the Naval Gun Factory and at Marine Corps Headquarters, and in China.

Korean War

At the outbreak of the Korean War, SSgt Windrich was on military police duty at Camp Pendleton, CA. He went overseas with the 1st Marine Brigade and was among the first Marines to see action in Korea. He participated in the Inchon landing and in the capture of Seoul. It was during the Chosin Reservoir campaign, as the 1st Marine Division regrouped for its famous breakout to the sea, that he met his heroic death.

Staff Sergeant Windrich was killed in action the morning of 2 December 1950, near Yudam-ni, North Korea, following a savage night battle. He had refused to be evacuated even after being wounded twice, once when a grenade fragment ripped through his helmet. Although later felled by another wound in the leg, he was not put out of action but was still directing his men in setting up defensive positions when he succumbed to his wounds and the bitter cold.

For his outstanding heroism as a platoon sergeant during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, Staff Sergeant William Gordon Windrich was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Platoon Sergeant of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Yudam-ni, Korea, the night of 1 December 1950. Promptly organizing a squad of men when the enemy launched a sudden, vicious counterattack against the forward elements of his company's position, rendering it untenable, Staff Sergeant Windrich, armed with a carbine, spearheaded the assault to the top of the knoll immediately confronting the overwhelming force and, under shattering hostile automatic weapons, mortar and grenade fire, directed effective fire to hold back the attackers and cover the withdrawal of our troops to commanding ground. With seven of his men struck down during the furious action and he, himself, wounded in the head by a bursting grenade, he made his way to his company's position and, organizing a small group of volunteers, returned with them to evacuate the wounded and dying from the frozen hillside, staunchly refusing medical attention himself. Immediately redeploying the remainder of his troops, Staff Sergeant Windrich placed them on the left flank of the defensive sector before the enemy again attacked in force. Wounded in the leg during the bitter fight that followed, he bravely fought on with his men, shouting words of encouragement and directing their fire until the attack was repelled. Refusing evacuation although unable to stand, he still continued to direct his platoon in setting up defensive positions until, weakened by the bitter cold, excessive loss of blood and severe pain, he lapsed into unconsciousness and died. His valiant leadership, fortitude and courageous fighting spirit against tremendous odds served to inspire others to heroic endeavor in holding the objective and reflect the highest credit upon Staff Sergeant Windrich and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


The Medal of Honor, the United States' highest award for valor in combat, was presented to Staff Sergeant Windrich's widow by Secretary of the Navy Daniel A. Kimball during ceremonies on 8 February 1952 in Washington, DC.

Medals and Awards

In addition to the Medal of Honor, SSgt Windrich's decorations include:

Purple Heart
Presidential Unit Citations (2)
Good Conduct Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 1 Bronze Star
World War II Victory Medal
China Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
United Nations Service Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citations (2)

Death and Burial

Staff Sergeant William Gordon Windrich was killed in action on 2 December 1950. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, at Section 31, Lot 4856, Map Grid AA/35.

Honoree ID: 1256   Created by: MHOH




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