Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Walter

Last Name: Wetzel

Birthplace: Huntington, WV, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Roseville, MI
Middle Name: C.

Date of Birth: 1919

Date of Death: 03 April 1945

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1941 - 1945
Walter C. Wetzel

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Walter C. Wetzel

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Private First Class Walter C. Wetzel (1919 - 3 April 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 heroic actions during World War II.

Walter C. Wetzel joined the Army from Roseville, MI. On 3 April 1945, he was serving as a Private First Class in the 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. In Birken, Germany, that day Wetzel covered the blasts of German-thrown grenades with his body, sacrificing himself to protect those around him. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 13th Infantry, 8th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Birken, Germany, 3 April 1945.

Citation: Pfc. Wetzel, an acting squad leader with the Antitank Company of the 13th Infantry, was guarding his platoon's command post in a house at Birken, Germany, during the early morning hours of 3 April 1945, when he detected strong enemy forces moving in to attack. He ran into the house, alerted the occupants and immediately began defending the post against heavy automatic weapons fire coming from the hostile troops. Under cover of darkness the Germans forced their way close to the building where they hurled grenades, 2 of which landed in the room where Pfc. Wetzel and the others had taken up firing positions. Shouting a warning to his fellow soldiers, Pfc. Wetzel threw himself on the grenades and, as they exploded, absorbed their entire blast, suffering wounds from which he died. The supreme gallantry of Pfc. Wetzel saved his comrades from death or serious injury and made it possible for them to continue the defense of the command post and break the power of a dangerous local counterthrust by the enemy. His unhesitating sacrifice of his life was in keeping with the U.S. Army's highest traditions of bravery and heroism.

Death and Burial

Private First Class Walter C. Wetzel was killed in action on 3 April 1945. He is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, Limburg, Netherlands, in Plot N, Row 18, Grave 10.

Honoree ID: 1707   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image