Date in History: July 11, 1944

On July 11th, 1944 Staff Sergeant Gerald Endl of Fort Atkinson had to make a difficult decision and he had to make it fast. His platoon in the jungles of New Guinea had run into heavy enemy fire and twelve men in his unit- including the platoon leader – now lay wounded. As the enemy pressed forward, the platoon was in danger of being forced back, leaving their wounded men to the enemy.

Recognizing the situation, Staff Sgt Endl bravely advanced alone and engaged the enemy from his forward position, giving his men the time and space to crawl forward and evacuate the wounded. Endl’s actions led to the rescue of all the men but one, – the one Endl was carrying out in his arms when he was struck by automatic fire and killed.

For his selfless bravery and his ultimate sacrifice, Gerald Endl was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor – the greatest military honor our nation can bestow. His body came home in 1948 to a somber but proud city and he was laid to rest in St. Joseph Cemetery.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 07/07/2003.