13th Inf, 8th Infantry Division
Birken, Germany.
3 April. 1945


Pfc. Wetzel was an acting squad leader in an Antitank Company of the 13th  Infantry.wetzel

While standing guard on a house in Birken, Germany that housed his platoon’s command post.

In the early morning of 3 April 1945, Pfc. Wetzel observed a significant enemy force moving in to attack.

He ran into command post sounding the alarm than took up a defensive firing position against heavy automatic weapons fire. the Germans, using the darkness as cover, advanced close to the building and threw several hand grenades.

Two grenades landed in Pfc. Wetzel’s position placing his entire group in grave danger.  Wetzel shouted a warning then threw himself on the grenades.

Pfc Wetzel absorbed their entire blast, giving his life to protect his brothers.


The last line of PFC Walter C. Wetzel’s Medal of Honor certificate reads as follows:


“…The supreme gallantry of Pfc. Wetzel saved his comrades from death or serious injury and made it possible for them to continue the defense of the command post and break the power of a dangerous local counterthrust by the enemy. His unhesitating sacrifice of his life was in keeping with the U.S. Army’s highest traditions of bravery and heroism.”



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