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First Name: Elmer

Last Name: Fryar

Birthplace: Denver, CO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Denver, CO
Middle Name: E.

Date of Birth: 1915

Date of Death: 08 December 1944

Rank: Private

Years Served:
Elmer E. Fryar

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Elmer E. Fryar
Private, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Private Elmer E. Fryar (1915 - 8 December 1944) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Elmer E. Fryar was born circa 1915 in Denver, CO; he also joined the Army at Denver. On 8 December 1944, Fryar was serving as a Private in Company E, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division. On that day in Leyte, the Philippines, he single-handedly held off an enemy platoon which was trying to flank his company. Later, while helping a wounded soldier to the rear, he saw an enemy sniper aiming at his platoon leader. Fryar jumped forward and blocked the sniper's fire with his body. Although mortally wounded, he managed to kill the sniper with a hand grenade before succumbing. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private, U .S. Army, Company E, 511th Parachute Infantry, 11th Airborne Division.

Place and date: Leyte, Philippine Islands, 8 December 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pvt. Fryar's battalion encountered the enemy strongly entrenched in a position supported by mortars and automatic weapons. The battalion attacked, but in spite of repeated efforts was unable to take the position. Pvt. Fryar's company was ordered to cover the battalion's withdrawal to a more suitable point from which to attack, but the enemy launched a strong counterattack which threatened to cut off the company. Seeing an enemy platoon moving to outflank his company, he moved to higher ground and opened heavy and accurate fire. He was hit, and wounded, but continuing his attack he drove the enemy back with a loss of 27 killed. While withdrawing to overtake his squad, he found a seriously wounded comrade, helped him to the rear, and soon overtook his platoon leader, who was assisting another wounded. While these 4 were moving to rejoin their platoon, an enemy sniper appeared and aimed his weapon at the platoon leader. Pvt. Fryar instantly sprang forward, received the full burst of automatic fire in his own body and fell mortally wounded. With his remaining strength he threw a hand grenade and killed the sniper. Pvt. Fryar's indomitable fighting spirit and extraordinary gallantry above and beyond the call of duty contributed outstandingly to the success of the battalion's withdrawal and its subsequent attack and defeat of the enemy. His heroic action in unhesitatingly giving his own life for his comrade in arms exemplifies the highest tradition of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Awards and Medals

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart (2)


• The parachute landing zone at Fort Benning, GA, used for training and graduating students in the U.S. Army Airborne School, is named in Fryar's honor.
• The football stadium on Fort Campbell, KY, onetime home of Fryar's old 11th Airborne Division, also bears his name.
• There is also a U.S. Army Reserve training center named after him in his home state of Colorado.
• In Stadtbergen (near Augsburg/Germany) a street is named Elmer-Fryar-Circle."

Death and Burial

Private Elmer E. Fryar's body was never recovered. His name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, the Philippines.

Honoree ID: 1397   Created by: MHOH




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