The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
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George Edward Wahlen
Pharmacist's Mate Second Class

U.S. Navy

 

Citation:

 

George Edward Wahlen
Pharmacist's Mate Second Class

The President of the United Statesin the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor toWAHLEN, GEORGE EDWARD
Rank and organization: Pharmacist's Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy, serving with 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands group, 3 March 1945. Entered service at: Utah. Born: 8 August 1924, Ogden, Utah.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano group on 3 March 1945. Painfully wounded in the bitter action on 26 February, Wahlen remained on the battlefield, advancing well forward of the frontlines to aid a wounded marine and carrying him back to safety despite a terrific concentration of fire. Tireless in his ministrations, he consistently disregarded all danger to attend his fighting comrades as they fell under the devastating rain of shrapnel and bullets, and rendered prompt assistance to various elements of his combat group as required. When an adjacent platoon suffered heavy casualties, he defied the continuous pounding of heavy mortars and deadly fire of enemy rifles to care for the wounded, working rapidly in an area swept by constant fire and treating 14 casualties before returning to his own platoon. Wounded again on 2 March, he gallantly refused evacuation, moving out with his company the following day in a furious assault across 600 yards of open terrain and repeatedly rendering medical aid while exposed to the blasting fury of powerful Japanese guns. Stouthearted and indomitable, he persevered in his determined efforts as his unit waged fierce battle and, unable to walk after sustaining a third agonizing wound, resolutely crawled 50 yards to administer first aid to still another fallen fighter. By his dauntless fortitude and valor, Wahlen served as a constant inspiration and contributed vitally to the high morale of his company during critical phases of this strategically important engagement. His heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming enemy fire upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

At age 17, Wahlen was trained as an aircraft mechanic, and he worked at Hill Field in Utah, leading five other mechanics as crew chief for the United States Army Air Corps. He volunteered for the draft, hoping to work on aircraft, but became a Navy Corpsman. He volunteered for combat duty with the United States Marine Corps, and as was attached to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, and participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima in February 1945. He was awarded the Medal Of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on October 5, 1945.

Wahlen spent nine months recovering from his wounds, before being discharged in December of 1945. He later re-enlisted in the United States Army, where he served during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He retired with the rank of Major after being awarded a Purple Heart and serving in all four branches of the United States Military. As a civilian he worked for over a decade with the Veteran's Administration, where he retired at the age of 59.

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