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SSgt Gerald L. Endl
U. S. Army, 32nd Infantry Division, 128th Infantry Regiment, C Company

Background
Gerald Leon Endl was born in August 20, 1915 to parents Ferdinand Endl and Ellen (née Walther) Endl in Fort Atkinson in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. Later, the family moved to Jamesville, Wisconsin.

Wartime History
On April 16, 1941 he enlisted in the U. S. Army with serial number 36207739. Assigned to the 32nd Infantry Division, 128th Infantry Regiment, Company C. By 1944 he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergent.

On July 11, 1944 during the Battle of Driniumor River, part of a platoon walking the Anamo-Afua Trail when ambushed by Japanese that opened fire. During the combat, his platoon leader was wounded. Immediately, Endl assumed command, directed fire and advanced to help rescue wounded men from his patrol. While carrying out the last man, he was hit by gunfire and Killed In Action (KIA). For his actions, he earned the Medal of Honor, posthumously on March 13, 1945.

Posthumous Medal of Honor Citation (March 13, 1945)
Medal of Honor Army"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty near Anamo, New Guinea, on 11 July 1944. S/Sgt. Endl was at the head of the leading platoon of his company advancing along a jungle trail when enemy troops were encountered and a fire fight developed. The enemy attacked in force under heavy rifle, machinegun, and grenade fire. His platoon leader wounded, S/Sgt. Endl immediately assumed command and deployed his platoon on a firing line at the fork in the trail toward which the enemy attack was directed. The dense jungle terrain greatly restricted vision and movement, and he endeavored to penetrate down the trail toward an open clearing of Kunai grass. As he advanced, he detected the enemy, supported by at least 6 light and 2 heavy machineguns, attempting an enveloping movement around both flanks. His commanding officer sent a second platoon to move up on the left flank of the position, but the enemy closed in rapidly, placing our force in imminent danger of being isolated and annihilated. Twelve members of his platoon were wounded, 7 being cut off by the enemy. Realizing that if his platoon were forced farther back, these 7 men would be hopelessly trapped and at the mercy of a vicious enemy, he resolved to advance at all cost, knowing it meant almost certain death, in an effort to rescue his comrades. In the face of extremely heavy fire he went forward alone and for a period of approximately 10 minutes engaged the enemy in a heroic close-range fight, holding them off while his men crawled forward under cover to evacuate the wounded and to withdraw. Courageously refusing to abandon 4 more wounded men who were lying along the trail, 1 by 1 he brought them back to safety. As he was carrying the last man in his arms he was struck by a heavy burst of automatic fire and was killed. By his persistent and daring self-sacrifice and on behalf of his comrades, S/Sgt. Endl made possible the successful evacuation of all but 1 man, and enabled the 2 platoons to withdraw with their wounded and to reorganize with the rest of the company."

Memorials
Endl was officially declared dead on July 11, 1944 at age 28. He earned the Medal of Honor, and Purple Heart, posthumously. Postwar, he was permanently buried at Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Fort Atkinson, WI at lot 20, block 9, grave 3N.

References

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Gerald L Endl
FindAGrave - Gerald Leon “Sparrow” Endl (photo, grave photos)

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