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First Name: William

Last Name: Shockley

Birthplace: Bokoshe, OK, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Selma, CA
Middle Name: Ralph

Date of Birth: 04 December 1918

Date of Death: 31 March 1945

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served:
William Ralph Shockley

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


William Ralph Shockley

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Private First Class William Ralph Shockley (4 December 1918 - 31 March 1945) 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 actions during World War II.

William Ralph Shockley was born on 4 December 1918 in Bokoshe, OK, and enlisted in the Army from Selma, CA. On 31 March 1945 he was serving as a Private First Class in Company L, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. During a Japanese counterattack on that day on the Villa Verde Trail in Luzon, the Philippines, he voluntarily stayed behind and provided covering fire while the rest of his unit retreated. Shockley was killed by the advancing Japanese soldiers. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 128th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division.

Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 31 March 1945.

Citation: He was in position with his unit on a hill when the enemy, after a concentration of artillery fire, launched a counterattack. He maintained his position under intense enemy fire and urged his comrades to withdraw, saying that he would "remain to the end" to provide cover. Although he had to clear two stoppages which impeded the reloading of his weapon, he halted one enemy charge. Hostile troops then began moving in on his left flank, and he quickly shifted his gun to fire on them. Knowing that the only route of escape was being cut off by the enemy, he ordered the remainder of his squad to withdraw to safety and deliberately remained at his post. He continued to fire until he was killed during the ensuing enemy charge. Later, 4 Japanese were found dead in front of his position. Pfc. Shockley, facing certain death, sacrificed himself to save his fellow soldiers, but the heroism and gallantry displayed by him enabled his squad to reorganize and continue its attack.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart (2)

Death and Burial

Private First Class William Ralph Shockley was killed in action on 31 March 1945. He is buried at Floral Memorial Cemetery in Selma, CA.

Honoree ID: 1643   Created by: MHOH




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