Co A 1st Bn, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Div.
28 May 1952

CPL Champagne’s fire team advancing with his platoon in an assault against a stronglychampagne fortified and heavily defended hill position.

When the platoon was withing range the enemy opened up and  Cpl. Champagne led his team through a hail of machine gun, small-arms, and grenade fire to a defensive position then on organized assault of enemy positions.

Champagne’s fire team overran enemy trenches and a series of bunker positions before reaching the hilltop objective where he deployed his men in a defensive perimeter as the enemy mounted a counter-attack.

Champagne was wounded in both legs while repelling the attack but refused medical aid or evacuation remaining in command and keeping his Marines in the fight.

As another counter-attack came, an enemy grenade landed in the midst of the fire team. Champagne unhesitatingly grabbed the explosive device and chucked it back at the enemy. The grenade detonated as it left his hand, vaporizing his left his hand and launching Cpl. Champagne out of the trench into the open.

Cpl. Champagne treated his own wounds, took up his weapon and engaged the enemy from out in the open. He held his ground and kept up the fight until mortar fire silenced his weapon.

The last lines of Cpl. Champagne’s Medal of Honor Citation read as follows:

“Mortally wounded by enemy mortar fire while in this exposed position, Cpl. Champagne, by his valiant leadership, fortitude, and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death, undoubtedly saved the lives of several of his fellow marines. His heroic actions served to inspire all who observed him and reflect the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”


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