PFC WILLIAM J. GRABIARZ
Troop E, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cav Div
Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands
23 February 1945
While serving as the unit’s advanced scout PFC Grabiarz, was walking with a squadron of tanks along a street in Manilla when they were ambushed by enemy rifle and Machinegun emplacements concealed in the buildings.
The troop commander was hit at the beginning of the engagement and was laying out in the open, completely exposed to the point-blank enemy fire.
Pfc. Grabiarz dashed from behind a tank running out to his commander in an attempt to carry him to safety but was seriously wounded in the shoulder.
Although his arm was useless and the pain unbearable, PFC Grabiarz ignored both the pain in his injured useless arm and shouts from other soldiers to seek the cover which was only a few yards away.
Instead, the young cavalryman continued his efforts to drag his commander out of range. Once he realized the feat was simply impossible to accomplish with just one arm and losing blood fast, he rejected the opportunity to save himself and deliberately covered the officer with his own body acting as a human shield. He shouted for a tank to move into position between him and the hostile emplacement.
The enemy riddled PFC Grabiarz with concentrated fire before the tank could interpose itself.
Grabiarz’s body stopped the enemy rounds from striking his Troop Commander, who survived.
Consider what kind of a commander the Troop Commander was if he inspired such loyalty deep in his men.