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GURKE, Henry

AWARDED THE MEDAL OF HONOR DURING WW II

GURKE, Henry (3rd Raider Bn., Company M)
Private First Class, USMC. Born 6 November, 1922, Neche, N.D. (1-2 p11)

“For extraordinary heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the Third Marine Raider Battalion during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area on 9 November, 1943. While his platoon was engaged in the defense of a vital road block near Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville Island, Private First Class Gurke, in company with another Marine, was delivering a fierce stream of fire against the main vanguard of the Japanese. Concluding from the increasing ferocity of grenade barrages that the enemy was determined to annihilate their small, two-man foxhole, he resorted to a bold and desperate measure for holding out despite the torrential hail of shells. When a Japanese grenade dropped squarely into the foxhole, Private Gurke, mindful that his companion manned an automatic weapon of superior fire power and therefore could provide more effective resistance, thrust him roughly aside and flung his own body over the missile to smother the explosion. With unswerving devotion to duty and superb valor, Private Gurke sacrificed himself in order that his comrade might live to carry on the fight. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.”

History of Medal of Honor