Medal of Honor receipient dies.

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
BOVEY, Minn. - Donald E. Rudolph Sr., who received a Medal of Honor for bravery for destroying two Japanese machine gun nests during World War II, has died. He was 85.

Rudolph died Thursday of complications from
Alzheimer's disease, said Itasca County Veterans Services Officer Marvin Ott, who spoke with Rudolph's wife, Helen, on Friday. He had been ill for several years.

President Harry S. Truman presented Rudolph with the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, on Aug. 23, 1945.

On Feb. 5 of that year, the young Army sergeant crossed a battlefield on Luzon island in the northern Philippines alone — protecting himself with grenades — when the company that was supposed to be supporting his unit was pinned down. He destroyed two Japanese pillboxes before attacking and neutralizing six others. Then, when his unit came under fire from a tank, he climbed onto the tank and dropped a white phosphorus grenade through the turret, killing the crew.

According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, "Rudolph cleared a path for an advance which culminated in one of the most decisive victories of the Philippine campaign."

Rudolph, who was struck by shrapnel, was promoted to second lieutenant.

As a recipient of the prestigious medal, Rudolph and his wife attended several presidential inaugurations, where Rudolph met Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush.

After retiring from the Army in 1963, he worked for the Veterans Administration as a veterans benefit counselor until retiring in 1976.

Rudolph is survived by his wife, a son and three grandchildren.
You're right. In "The Shores of Iwo Jima" John Wayne blows up one bumker. Looks pretty cool and it seems like almost a unbelievable feat that he survived.

But what this Rudolph did running up to several bunkers with only grenades and then a tank with so many likely chances to be killed by a mortal bullet in his body.....Whew. The man that couldn't die.
I've read stories on other medal of honor recipients. It amazes me how they can pull of the fighting they did while their comrades died around and with the horror of war. Like Audie Murphy, held off German tanks and infantry on with a machine gun on a M10 and artillery strikes around him.

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