Monday, May 29, 2006

Remembering Private First Class Harold C. Agerholm

Who remembers a soldier who bravely lost his life at age 19? There are no children to tell his story; his parents are long gone. I am sure his five siblings, four younger than he, have told his story to his soldier's nieces and nephews.

I am confident there are other ceremonies or newspaper accounts where his name and deeds are mentioned.

At least, I hope so.

We'll do our small part today to help remember Harold C. Agerholm, one very young man from Wisconsin, whose photo is at left. Here is what we know of his story, from The Center of Military History's Medal of Honor site:


Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 29 January 1925, Racine, Wis. Accredited to: Wisconsin. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 4th Battalion, 10th Marines, 2d 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, Pfc. Agerholm immediately volunteered to assist in the efforts to check the hostile attack and evacuate our wounded. Locating and appropriating an abandoned ambulance jeep, he repeatedly made extremely perilous trips under heavy rifle and mortar fire and single-handedly loaded and evacuated approximately 45 casualties, working tirelessly and with utter disregard for his own safety during a grueling period of more than 3 hours. Despite intense, persistent enemy fire, he ran out to aid 2 men whom he believed to be wounded marines but was himself mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper while carrying out his hazardous mission. Pfc. 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 U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Private Agerholm was five months past his 19th birthday when he died. He was the oldest son of his widowed mother, Rose Agerholm. Mrs. Agerholm was presented the Medal of Honor by the Commandant of the Ninth Naval District, because she "didn't want any public presentation."

It turns out that Private Agerholm has been remembered. The destroyer USS Agerholm (DD-826) was named after him, as was a middle school in his home town of Racine, Wisconsin. I hope the children who attend that school are told, from time to time, about the man whose name is above the front door.

If Memorial Day has any purpose at all, it is to remember those who have served in the defense of our freedoms. Take a few minutes and visit the Center of Military History's site and reflect today on some of those men.

As you do so, you might ask yourself, as I do: How many more stories like this have never even been told because those involved did not survive to tell them?

Have a great Memorial Day, and God bless America.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for honoring this man's sacrifice. His story has inspired and awed me my whole life. I have spent many hours wondering what he was thinking on that night. It was not of himself. We are a quite and humble family, but I am proud to be related to the greatest man I have ever heard of.

Saturday, May 23, 2009 7:33:00 AM  

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