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First Name: Paul

Last Name: Wiedorfer

Birthplace: Baltimore, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Baltimore, MD
Middle Name: Joseph

Date of Birth: 17 January 1921

Date of Death: 25 May 2011

Rank: Master Sergeant

Years Served: 1943 - 1948
Paul Joseph Wiedorfer

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Paul Joseph Wiedorfer

Master Sergeant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Master Sergeant Paul Joseph Wiedorfer (17 January 1921 - 25 May 2011) 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.

Paul Joseph Wiedorfer was born on 17 January 1921 in Baltimore, MD. Raised in the 2400 block of McElderry Street, he attended St. Andrew's School, and graduated in 1940 from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. Wiedorfer was married to his bride, Alice Stauffer, for just six months when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943. He had been working as an apprentice power station operator at the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company in Baltimore, and was living in the 1900 block of Bank Street.

Wiedorfer received his basic training at Camp Lee, VA, and was then assigned to the Quartermaster Corps. He then passed the examination for cadet air training, and was training to be a pilot, but the Army switched him to the Infantry because of the greater need. On the way to England he crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Queen Mary, and by 25 December 1944, he was serving as a Private in Company G, 318th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division.

On that Christmas Day near Chaumont, Belgium, Wiedorfer single-handedly charged across 150 yards of open ground and then destroyed two German machine gun emplacements. He was subsequently promoted to Staff Sergeant and issued the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the battle.

On 10 February 1945, while crossing the Saar River, he was severely injured by a mortar shell that blew up near him. Shrapnel broke his left leg, ripped into his stomach, and seriously injured two fingers on his right hand. The sergeant next to him was killed instantly. He was evacuated to the 137th United States Army General Hospital in England where he was placed in traction. While in the hospital a sergeant reading Stars and Stripes asked him how he spelled his name, and then told him he had received the Medal of Honor. Later, on 5 May 1945, General E.F. Koenig entered the ward, with a band, to present him with his Medal.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant (then Private), U.S. Army, Company G, 318th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Chaumont, Belgium, 25 December 1944.

Citation: He alone made it possible for his company to advance until its objective was seized. Company G had cleared a wooded area of snipers, and 1 platoon was advancing across an open clearing toward another wood when it was met by heavy machinegun fire from 2 German positions dug in at the edge of the second wood. These positions were flanked by enemy riflemen. The platoon took cover behind a small ridge approximately 40 yards from the enemy position. There was no other available protection and the entire platoon was pinned down by the German fire. It was about noon and the day was clear, but the terrain extremely difficult due to a 3-inch snowfall the night before over ice-covered ground. Pvt. Wiedorfer, realizing that the platoon advance could not continue until the 2 enemy machinegun nests were destroyed, voluntarily charged alone across the slippery open ground with no protecting cover of any kind. Running in a crouched position, under a hail of enemy fire, he slipped and fell in the snow, but quickly rose and continued forward with the enemy concentrating automatic and small-arms fire on him as he advanced. Miraculously escaping injury, Pvt. Wiedorfer reached a point some 10 yards from the first machinegun emplacement and hurled a hand grenade into it. With his rifle he killed the remaining Germans, and, without hesitation, wheeled to the right and attacked the second emplacement. One of the enemy was wounded by his fire and the other 6 immediately surrendered. This heroic action by 1 man enabled the platoon to advance from behind its protecting ridge and continue successfully to reach its objective. A few minutes later, when both the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant were wounded, Pvt. Wiedorfer assumed command of the platoon, leading it forward with inspired energy until the mission was accomplished.

He returned to Baltimore on 11 June 1945 and was given a ticker tape parade with General George C. Marshall and Maryland Governor Herbert R. O'Conor in attendance.

Wiedorfer reached the rank of Master Sergeant before retiring from the Army.

Post-Military Life

After the war, he spent another three years recovering in different Army hospitals and then returned to Baltimore Gas & Electric, where he retired in 1981 after 40 years of service. He and Alice had four children.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart


On 11 November 2008 a plaque honoring him was placed in Baltimore Polytechnic Institute's Memorial Hall.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Medal of Honor didn't exist because there were no wars and we could all live in peace? And that the only way to spell war was love? Wouldn't that be wonderful?"

Paul J. Wiedorfer commenting on the Medal of Honor.


Wiedorfer died in Baltimore on 25 May 2011 at age 90. He was buried in Baltimore's Moreland Memorial Park Cemetery on 7 June 2011.

Honoree ID: 1710   Created by: MHOH




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