Walt Ehlers, who received the Medal of Honor for bravery during the D-Day invasion of Nazi-held France during World War II, died Thursday morning. He was 92.Accorfing to this article from NBC News:
Ehlers and his older brother, Roland, were Kansas farm boys who joined the Army together during the Depression to help their family. After three years in the peacetime Army, the brothers found themselves headed to Europe after the United States entered the war following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
The pair fought side-by-side across North Africa and Sicily. Once, in Italy, Walt had to dig Roland out from under a pile of dirt and rocks after an artillery shell exploded near them.
Ehlers also earned three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star during his service with the 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Infantry Division.There are now 75 surviving Medal of Honor recipients, seven of whom were awarded the medal for heroism in World War II.
After the war, Ehlers became an advocate for military veteran benefits and proudly worked as a security guard for Disneyland when it opened in California.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Ehlers; three children; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
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WALTER DAVID EHLERS
Staff Sergeant, US Army; 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Born: 7 May 1921, Junction City, Kansas
Died: 20 February 2014, California
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 9-10 June 1944, near Goville, France. S/Sgt. Ehlers, always acting as the spearhead of the attack, repeatedly led his men against heavily defended enemy strong points exposing himself to deadly hostile fire whenever the situation required heroic and courageous leadership. Without waiting for an order, S/Sgt. Ehlers, far ahead of his men, led his squad against a strongly defended enemy strong point, personally killing 4 of an enemy patrol who attacked him en route. Then crawling forward under withering machinegun fire, he pounced upon the guncrew and put it out of action. Turning his attention to 2 mortars protected by the crossfire of 2 machineguns, S/Sgt. Ehlers led his men through this hail of bullets to kill or put to flight the enemy of the mortar section, killing 3 men himself. After mopping up the mortar positions, he again advanced on a machinegun, his progress effectively covered by his squad. When he was almost on top of the gun he leaped to his feet and, although greatly outnumbered, he knocked out the position single-handed. The next day, having advanced deep into enemy territory, the platoon of which S/Sgt. Ehlers was a member, finding itself in an untenable position as the enemy brought increased mortar, machinegun, and small arms fire to bear on it, was ordered to withdraw. S/Sgt. Ehlers, after his squad had covered the withdrawal of the remainder of the platoon, stood up and by continuous fire at the semicircle of enemy placements, diverted the bulk of the heavy hostile fire on himself, thus permitting the members of his own squad to withdraw. At this point, though wounded himself, he carried his wounded automatic rifleman to safety and then returned fearlessly over the shell-swept field to retrieve the automatic rifle which he was unable to carry previously. After having his wound treated, he refused to be evacuated, and returned to lead his squad. The intrepid leadership, indomitable courage, and fearless aggressiveness displayed by S/Sgt. Ehlers in the face of overwhelming enemy forces serve as an inspiration to others.