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First Name: Leonard

Last Name: Funk

Birthplace: Wilkinsburg, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Wilkinsburg, PA
Middle Name: Alfred

Date of Birth: 27 August 1916

Date of Death: 20 November 1992

Rank: First Sergeant

Years Served: 1941 - 1945
Leonard Alfred Funk, Jr.

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Leonard A. Funk, Jr.
First Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

First Sergeant Leonard Alfred Funk, Jr. (27 August 1916 -20 November 1992) 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.

Leonard A. Funk was born on 27 August 1916 in Wilkinsburg, PA; he also joined the Army from that city in 1941. On 29 January 1945, he was serving as a First Sergeant in Company C, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. On that day at Holzheim, Belgium, he encountered a group of more than 80 German soldiers, most of whom had previously been captured by American forces but, with the help of a German patrol, had managed to overwhelm their guards. Despite being greatly outnumbered, Funk opened fire and called for the captured American guards to seize the Germans' weapons. He and the guards successfully killed or re-captured all of the German soldiers. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 508th Parachute Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division.

Place and date: Holzheim, Belgium, 29 January 1945.

Citation: He distinguished himself by gallant, intrepid actions against the enemy. After advancing 15 miles in a driving snowstorm, the American force prepared to attack through waist-deep drifts. The company executive officer became a casualty, and 1st Sgt. Funk immediately assumed his duties, forming headquarters soldiers into a combat unit for an assault in the face of direct artillery shelling and harassing fire from the right flank. Under his skillful and courageous leadership, this miscellaneous group and the 3d Platoon attacked 15 houses, cleared them, and took 30 prisoners without suffering a casualty. The fierce drive of Company C quickly overran Holzheim, netting some 80 prisoners, who were placed under a 4-man guard, all that could be spared, while the rest of the understrength unit went about mopping up isolated points of resistance. An enemy patrol, by means of a ruse, succeeded in capturing the guards and freeing the prisoners, and had begun preparations to attack Company C from the rear when 1st Sgt. Funk walked around the building and into their midst. He was ordered to surrender by a German officer who pushed a machine pistol into his stomach. Although overwhelmingly outnumbered and facing almost certain death, 1st Sgt. Funk, pretending to comply with the order, began slowly to unsling his submachine gun from his shoulder and then, with lightning motion, brought the muzzle into line and riddled the German officer. He turned upon the other Germans, firing and shouting to the other Americans to seize the enemy's weapons. In the ensuing fight 21 Germans were killed, many wounded, and the remainder captured. 1st Sgt. Funk's bold action and heroic disregard for his own safety were directly responsible for the recapture of a vastly superior enemy force, which, if allowed to remain free, could have taken the widespread units of Company C by surprise and endangered the entire attack plan.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters (3 Awards)

Funk left the Army while still a First Sergeant.

Death and Burial

First Sergeant Leonard A. Funk, Jr. died on 20 November 1992 at age 76. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, in Section 35 Lot 2373-4.

Honoree ID: 1398   Created by: MHOH




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