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First Name: Jesse

Last Name: Drowley

Birthplace: St. Charles, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Spokane, WA
Middle Name: Ray

Date of Birth: 09 September 1919

Date of Death: 20 May 1996

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served:
Jesse Ray Drowley

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Jesse Ray Drowley
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Staff Sergeant Jesse Ray Drowley (9 September 1919 - 20 May 1996) 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.

Jesse Ray Drowley was born on 9 September 1919 in St. Charles, MI. He joined the Army from Spokane, WA. On 30 January 1944, he was serving as a Staff Sergeant in Company B, 1st Battalion, 132nd Infantry, Americal Division. On that day on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, he discovered an enemy bunker which was firing on the attacking American troops. He ran across open terrain to reach a friendly tank, climbed on board, and personally led them towards the bunker. Although twice wounded while on the tank, he refused medical evacuation until the bunker was destroyed. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Americal Infantry Division.

Place and date: Bougainville, Solomon Islands, 30 January 1944.

Citation: For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy at Bougainville, Solomon Islands, 30 January 1944. S/Sgt. Drowley, a squad leader in a platoon whose mission during an attack was to remain under cover while holding the perimeter defense and acting as a reserve for assaulting echelon, saw 3 members of the assault company fall badly wounded. When intense hostile fire prevented aid from reaching the casualties, he fearlessly rushed forward to carry the wounded to cover. After rescuing 2 men, S/Sgt. Drowley discovered an enemy pillbox undetected by assaulting tanks that was inflicting heavy casualties upon the attacking force and was a chief obstacle to the success of the advance. Delegating the rescue of the third man to an assistant, he ran across open terrain to 1 of the tanks. Signaling to the crew, he climbed to the turret, exchanged his weapon for a submachine gun and voluntarily rode the deck of the tank directing it toward the pillbox by tracer fire. The tank, under constant heavy enemy fire, continued to within 20 feet of the pillbox where S/Sgt. Drowley received a severe bullet wound in the chest. Refusing to return for medical treatment, he remained on the tank and continued to direct its progress until the enemy box was definitely located by the crew. At this point he again was wounded by small arms fire, losing his left eye and falling to the ground. He remained alongside the tank until the pillbox had been completely demolished and another directly behind the first destroyed. S/Sgt. Drowley, his voluntary mission successfully accomplished, returned alone for medical treatment.

Death and Burial

Staff Sergeant Jesse Ray Drowley died on 20 May 1996, at age 76. He is buried at Fairmount Memorial Park in Spokane, WA.

Honoree ID: 1371   Created by: MHOH




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