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First Name: Ralph

Last Name: Neppel

Birthplace: Willey, IA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Glidden, IA
Middle Name: George

Date of Birth: 31 October 1923

Date of Death: 27 January 1987

Rank: Technical Sergeant

Years Served: 1943 - 1946
Ralph George Neppel

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Ralph George Neppel

Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Technical Sergeant Ralph George Neppel (31 October 1923 - 27 January 1987) 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 heroic actions during World War II.

Ralph George Neppel was born on 31 October 1923 in Willey, IA. He joined the Army from Glidden, IA. On 14 December 1944, he was serving as a Sergeant in Company M, 329th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division. During a German counterattack that day at Birgel, Germany, his leg was severed by enemy fire, but he continued to man his machine gun until the German force withdrew. Neppel survived his wounds, although his remaining leg was badly damaged and had to be amputated. For his acts of heroism, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 329th Infantry, 83d Infantry Division.

Place and date: Birgel, Germany, 14 December 1944.

Citation: He was leader of a machinegun squad defending an approach to the village of Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen, counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked the foot soldiers beside the tank killing several of them. The enemy armor continued to press forward and, at the pointblank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his gun, had 1 leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position on his elbows, remounted his gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen. Stripped of its infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke a determined counterattack.

Neppel reached the rank of Technical Sergeant before leaving the Army.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Death and Burial

Technical Sergeant Ralph George Neppel died on 27 January 1987 at age 63. He is buried at Holy Family Cemetery in Lidderdale, IA.

Honoree ID: 1564   Created by: MHOH




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