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First Name: Edward

Last Name: Silk

Birthplace: Johnstown, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Johnstown, PA
Middle Name: A.

Date of Birth: 08 June 1916

Date of Death: 18 November 1955

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served:
Edward A. Silk

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Edward A. Silk

Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Lieutenant Colonel Edward A. Silk (8 June 1916 - 18 November 1955) was a U.S. Army officer 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.

Edward A. Silk was born on 8 June 1916in Johnstown, PA; he also joined the Army from that city. On 23 November 1944, he was serving as a First Lieutenant in Company E, 398th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division. Near St. Pravel, France, that day, he single-handedly attacked a German-held farmhouse and captured the soldiers inside. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company E, 398th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near St. Pravel, France, 23 November 1944.

Citation: 1st Lt. Edward A. Silk commanded the weapons platoon of Company E, 398th Infantry, on 23 November 1944, when the end battalion was assigned the mission of seizing high ground overlooking Moyenmoutier France, prior to an attack on the city itself. His company jumped off in the lead at dawn and by noon had reached the edge of some woods in the vicinity of St. Pravel where scouts saw an enemy sentry standing guard before a farmhouse in a valley below. One squad, engaged in reconnoitering the area, was immediately pinned down by intense machinegun and automatic-weapons fire from within the house. Skillfully deploying his light machinegun section, 1st Lt. Silk answered enemy fire, but when 15 minutes had elapsed with no slackening of resistance, he decided to eliminate the strong point by a 1-man attack. Running 100 yards across an open field to the shelter of a low stone wall directly in front of the farmhouse, he fired into the door and windows with his carbine; then, in full view of the enemy, vaulted the wall and dashed 50 yards through a hail of bullets to the left side of the house, where he hurled a grenade through a window, silencing a machinegun and killing 2 gunners. In attempting to move to the right side of the house he drew fire from a second machinegun emplaced in the woodshed. With magnificent courage he rushed this position in the face of direct fire and succeeded in neutralizing the weapon and killing the 2 gunners by throwing grenades into the structure. His supply of grenades was by now exhausted, but undaunted he dashed back to the side of the farmhouse and began to throw rocks through a window, demanding the surrender of the remaining enemy. Twelve Germans, overcome by his relentless assault and confused by his unorthodox methods, gave up to the lone American. By his gallant willingness to assume the full burden of the attack and the intrepidity with which he carried out his extremely hazardous mission, 1st Lt. Silk enabled his battalion to continue its advance and seize its objective.

Silk's Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman in a special ceremony at the White House.

Silk reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before leaving the Army.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Colonel Edward A. Silk died on 18 November 1955, at age 39, of complications from a peptic ulcer. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 30-1045-C.

Honoree ID: 1648   Created by: MHOH




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