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First Name: Donald

Last Name: Rudolph

Birthplace: South Haven, MN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: South Haven, MN
Middle Name: Eugene

Date of Birth: 21 February 1921

Date of Death: 25 May 2006

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served: 1941 - 1963
Donald Eugene Rudolph, Sr.

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Donald Eugene Rudolph

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Second Lieutenant Donald Eugene Rudolph, Sr. (21 February 1921 - 25 May 2006) was a U.S. Army officer who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Donald Eugene Rudolph was born on 21 February 1921 in South Haven, MN. He also entered the Army from that city. On 5 February 1945, he was a Technical Sergeant serving with Company E, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Division. At Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands that day, his actions cleared a path for an advance which culminated in one of the most decisive victories of the Philippine campaign. For his heroism he was promoted to Second Lieutenant and awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company E, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 5 February 1945.

Citation: 2d Lt. Rudolph (then T/Sgt.) was acting as platoon leader at Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands. While administering first aid on the battlefield, he observed enemy fire issuing from a nearby culvert. Crawling to the culvert with rifle and grenades, he killed 3 of the enemy concealed there. He then worked his way across open terrain toward a line of enemy pillboxes which had immobilized his company. Nearing the first pillbox, he hurled a grenade through its embrasure and charged the position. With his bare hands he tore away the wood and tin covering, then dropped a grenade through the opening, killing the enemy gunners and destroying their machinegun. Ordering several riflemen to cover his further advance, 2d Lt. Rudolph seized a pick mattock and made his way to the second pillbox. Piercing its top with the mattock, he dropped a grenade through the hole, fired several rounds from his rifle into it and smothered any surviving enemy by sealing the hole and the embrasure with earth. In quick succession he attacked and neutralized 6 more pillboxes. Later, when his platoon was attacked by an enemy tank, he advanced under covering fire, climbed to the top of the tank and dropped a white phosphorus grenade through the turret, destroying the crew. Through his outstanding heroism, superb courage, and leadership, and complete disregard for his own safety, 2d Lt. Rudolph cleared a path for an advance which culminated in one of the most decisive victories of the Philippine campaign.

Rudolph was presented with the Medal of Honor on 23 August 1945 by President Harry S. Truman.

He continued his army career until 1963 and then worked in the Veterans Administration until his retirement in 1976.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart


U.S. Highway 7 north from Highway 169 to Bigfork, MN, is known as the Donald Rudolph Medal-of-Honor Scenic Byway. A commemorative site is available several miles up the highway.

Death and Burial

Second Lieutenant Donald Eugene Rudolph, Sr. died on 25 May 2006 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN.

Honoree ID: 1626   Created by: MHOH




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