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First Name: Harry

Last Name: Michael

Birthplace: Milford, IN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Milford, IN
Middle Name: J.

Date of Birth: 13 March 1922

Date of Death: 14 March 1945

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served: 1943 - 1945
Harry J. Michael

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Harry J. Michael

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Second Lieutenant Harry J. Michael (13 March 1922 - 14 March 1945) was a U.S. Army officer 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.

Harry J. Michael was born on 13 March 1922 in Milford, IN; he also joined the Army from that city. On 13 March 1945, he was serving as a Second Lieutenant in Company L, 318th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division. Near Neiderzerf, Germany, that day, Michael single-handedly captured two German machine gun emplacements, reconnoitered the area alone, and led his platoon in two attacks which captured more enemy soldiers and materiel. He was killed while hunting for an enemy sniper the next morning. For his actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company L, 318th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Neiderzerf, Germany, 14 March 1945.

Citation: He was serving as a rifle platoon leader when his company began an assault on a wooded ridge northeast of the village of Neiderzerf, Germany, early on 13 March 1945. A short distance up the side of the hill, 2d Lt. Michael, at the head of his platoon, heard the click of an enemy machinegun bolt. Quietly halting the company, he silently moved off into the woods and discovered 2 enemy machineguns and crews. Executing a sudden charge, he completely surprised the enemy and captured the guns and crews. At daybreak, enemy voices were heard in the thick woods ahead. Leading his platoon in a flanking movement, they charged the enemy with hand grenades and, after a bitter fight, captured 25 members of an SS mountain division, 3 artillery pieces, and 20 horses. While his company was establishing its position, 2d Lt. Michael made 2 personal reconnaissance missions of the wood on his left flank. On his first mission he killed 2, wounded 4, and captured 6 enemy soldiers single-handedly. On the second mission he captured 7 prisoners. During the afternoon he led his platoon on a frontal assault of a line of enemy pillboxes, successfully capturing the objective, killing 10 and capturing 30 prisoners. The following morning the company was subjected to sniper fire and 2d Lt. Michael, in an attempt to find the hidden sniper, was shot and killed. The inspiring leadership and heroic aggressiveness displayed by 2d Lt. Michael upheld the highest traditions of the military service.

Death and Burial

Second Lieutenant Harry J. Michael was killed in action on 14 March 1945, the day after his 23rd birthday. He is buried at Violett Cemetery in Goshen, IN, in Lot 309, Space G.

Honoree ID: 1543   Created by: MHOH




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