1Lt ELI WHITELEY
Company L, 15th Infantry,
3d Infantry Division. U.S. Army
27 December 1944.
While leading his platoon on 27 December 1944, in savage house-to-house fighting through the fortress town of Sigolsheim, France.
In spite of withering mortar and automatic weapons fire, Whiteley attacked an enemy-held building. The young Lt. was hit and severely wounded in the arm and shoulder; still, he charged into the house alone and killed its 2 defenders. Hurling smoke and fragmentation grenades before him, he continued on to the next house and stormed inside, killing 2 and capturing 11 of the enemy.
Whiteley pressed on leading his platoon in the dangerous task of clearing hostile troops from strong points along the street. He reached a building held by fanatical Nazi troops. He advanced on this strongly defended house, and after blasting out a wall with bazooka fire, charged through a hail of bullets.
With his submachinegun wedged under his uninjured arm, he stormed into the house through the hole torn by his rockets. He managed to kill 5 of the enemy and forced the remaining 12 to surrender.
As he emerged to continue his fearless attack, he was again hit and critically wounded. In agony and with 1 eye shredded by a shell fragment, he shouted for his men to follow him to the next house.
Whitley stayed in the fight and kept his men moving. He remained at the head of his platoon until forcibly evacuated.
1st Lt. Whiteley killed 9 Germans, captured 23 more and spearheaded an attack that cracked the core of enemy resistance in a vital area.
After the war he lived a quiet life until his death in 1986.