The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
Honor-Courage-Commitment

 

HAROLD C. AGERHOLM
Private First Class
United States Marine Corps Reserve

Harold Agerholm

Citation

Private First Class Harold C. Agerholm
United States Marine Corps Reserve

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving the Fourth Battalion, Tenth Marines, Second Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan, Marianas Islands, 7 July 1944. When the enemy launched a fierce, determined counterattack against our positions and overran a neighboring artillery battalion, Private First Class Agerholm immediately volunteered to assist in the efforts to check the hostile attack and evacuate our wounded. Locating and appropriating an abandoned ambulancve jeep, he repeatedly made extremely perilous trips undeer heavy rifle and mortar fire and single-handedly loaded and evacuated approximately forty-five casualties, working tirelessly and with utter disregard for his own safty during a gruelling period of more than three hours. Despite intense, persistent enemy fire, he ran out to aid two men whom he believed to be wounded Marines but was himself mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper while carrying out his hazardous mission. Private First Class Agerholm's brilliant initiative, great personal valor and self-sacrificing efforts in the face of almost certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Harry S. Truman
President of the United States

Private First Class Harold Christ Agerholm, recipient of the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, on 29 January 1925. His mother was presented the Medal of Honor on 25 June 1945 by the Commandant of the Ninth Naval District, because she "didn't want any public presentation."

Harold Christ Agerholm attended the Racine public schools. For five months prior to joining the Marine Corps Reserve on 16 July 1942, he was employed as a multigraph operator for the Rench Manufacturing Company.

He received his recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. Upon completion of his training he was assigned to Headquarters and Service Battery, 4th Battalion, 10th Marines, 2d Marine Division. He embarked for overseas duty on 3 November 1942 and went to New Zealand, where he trained with his battalion in Wellington for eleven months.

He was promoted to private first class in January 1943, and became the battery store room keeper. He took part in the bitter fighting on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, in November 1943. From Tarawa he went to the Hawaiian Islands with the 2d Marine Division where they trained for their forthcoming operation on Saipan.

Private First Class Agerholm landed on Saipan three days after D-Day. With the battle for the island raging for three weeks, the enemy launched a vigorous counter-attack on 7 July 1944 and a neighboring battalion was overrun. PFC Agerholm volunteered to help evacuate casualties. For nearly three hours, he single-handedly evacuated 45 casualties while under intense rifle and mortar fire before being mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper.

On 20 June 1946 in Boston, Massachusetts, the USS Agerholm, a new destroyer, was commissioned and named after the young Marine hero.

He was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal (posthumously), the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars.

Initially buried in the 2d Marine Division cemetery on Saipan, PFC Agerholm's remains were reinterred in Mound Cemetery, Racine, Wisconsin, in 1947

Return to Main Pages