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First Name: Paul

Last Name: Bolden

Birthplace: Hobbes Island, IA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Madison, AL
Middle Name: Luther

Date of Birth: 15 June 1922

Date of Death: 21 May 1979

Rank: Master Sergeant

Years Served: 1942 - 1945
Paul Luther Bolden

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Paul Luther Bolden
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Master Sergeant Paul Luther Bolden (15 June 1922 - 21 May 1979) was a U.S. Army soldier and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during World War II.

Paul Luther Bolden was born on 15 June 1922 in Hobbes Island, IA. He joined the Army from Madison, AL, in 1942. On 23 December 1944, he was serving as a Staff Sergeant in Company I, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. On that day at Petit-Coo, Belgium, he and another soldier advanced on a German-held house. While his comrade provided covering fire from across the street, Bolden tossed grenades through a window, rushed to the door, and began firing. Wounded by the greatly superior number of German soldiers inside, he retreated from the house. Realizing that the Germans would not surrender, he returned to the house despite his serious wounds and killed the remaining soldiers. For these heroic actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Petit-Coo, Belgium, 23 December 1944.

Citation: He voluntarily attacked a formidable enemy strong point in Petit-Coo, Belgium, on 23 December 1944, when his company was pinned down by extremely heavy automatic and small-arms fire coming from a house 200 yards to the front. Mortar and tank artillery shells pounded the unit, when S/Sgt. Bolden and a comrade, on their own initiative, moved forward into a hail of bullets to eliminate the ever-increasing fire from the German position. Crawling ahead to close with what they knew was a powerfully armed, vastly superior force, the pair reached the house and took up assault positions, S/Sgt. Bolden under a window, his comrade across the street where he could deliver covering fire. In rapid succession, S/Sgt. Bolden hurled a fragmentation grenade and a white phosphorous grenade into the building; and then, fully realizing that he faced tremendous odds, rushed to the door, threw it open and fired into 35 SS troopers who were trying to reorganize themselves after the havoc wrought by the grenades. Twenty Germans died under fire of his submachinegun before he was struck in the shoulder, chest, and stomach by part of a burst which killed his comrade across the street. He withdrew from the house, waiting for the surviving Germans to come out and surrender. When none appeared in the doorway, he summoned his ebbing strength, overcame the extreme pain he suffered and boldly walked back into the house, firing as he went. He had killed the remaining 15 enemy soldiers when his ammunition ran out. S/Sgt. Bolden's heroic advance against great odds, his fearless assault, and his magnificent display of courage in reentering the building where he had been severely wounded cleared the path for his company and insured the success of its mission.

Bolden reached the rank of Master Sergeant before leaving the Army.

Death and Burial

Master Sergeant Paul Luther Bolden died on 21 May 1979 at age 56. He is buried at Moon Cemetery in Owens Cross Roads, AL.

Honoree ID: 1297   Created by: MHOH




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