|Sgt. William F. Leonard|
Sgt. William F. Leonard will receive the Medal of
Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a Squad
Leader in Company C, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division during
combat operations against an armed enemy near St. Die, France on
November 7, 1944.
Then-Pfc. William F. Leonard is being recognized for his valorous
actions while serving as a squad leader with Company C, 30th Infantry
Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division
on Nov. 7, 1944, near St. Die, France. Leonard’s platoon was reduced to
eight men by blistering artillery, mortar, machine-gun, and rifle
power. Leonard led the survivors in an assault over a
tree-and-shrub-covered hill, continuously swept by automatic fire.
Killing two snipers at ranges of 50 and 75 yards, he disregarded bullets
that pierced his back to engage and destroy a machine-gun with rifle
grenades, killing its two-man crew. Stunned by an exploding bazooka
shell, he continued his relentless advance to knock out a second a
machine-gun and capture the roadblock objective.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Leonard received the Distinguished
Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), the Bronze Star Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern
Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the World War II Victory
Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Honorable Service Lapel
Button-World War II.
Leonard returned from his service and worked in the automotive
industry, as a butcher, and finally retired from a radiator company. He
passed away five days before his 72nd birthday as he sat in the backyard
listening to a New York Yankees game on the radio.
Leonard’s daughter, Patricia Kennedy will accept the Medal of Honor
award from President Barack Obama on March 18, 2014. Kennedy says her
father didn’t speak much about his service, but remembers a single story
about her father visiting a bombed church in Strasbourg, France, where
he received Communion.