|Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz|
Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz will receive the Medal of Honor
posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an assistant
machinegunner with Company M, 5th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry
Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Yangpyong,
Korea on March 6 and 7, 1951.
Leonard M. Kravitz was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1931.
is being recognized for his actions in Yangpyong, Korea, March 6-7,
1951. While occupying defensive positions, Kravitz’s unit was overrun by
enemy combatants and forced to withdraw. Kravitz voluntarily remained
at a machine-gun position to provide suppressive fire for the retreating
troops. This forced the enemy to concentrate their attack on his own
position. Kravitz ultimately did not survive the attack, but his actions
saved his entire platoon.
Private Kravitz earned his Distinguished Service Cross on March 7,
1951, in an action that saved the lives of the members of his platoon.
When the platoon was attacked by a large group of fanatical Chinese and
was ordered to retreat, Kravitz took over the machine gun. When he was
ordered to retreat, he refused and he screamed back, “Get the hell out
of here while you can!” For a long time, his comrades could hear his
machine gun firing amidst the screams of the wounded and dying Chinese
forces and the grenades and mortar shells falling on his position. When
the area was finally re-taken, Private Kravitz was found laying over his
machine gun with only six bullets left. There were innumerable Chinese
dead all around, including two in his fortification with him.
Private Kravitz’s citation reads: “Private First Class Leonard M.
Kravitz, a member of Company M, 5th Infantry Regiment, distinguished
himself by extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the
United Nations near Yangpyong, Korea, on 6 and 7 March 1951. Private
Kravitz, an assistant machine gunner attached to Company L, was in a
defensive position on strategic key terrain. After the friendly elements
had repulsed two earlier probing attacks, the enemy launched a
fanatical banzai charge with heavy supporting fire and, despite
staggering losses, pressed the assault with ruthless determination. When
the machine gunner was wounded in the initial phase of action, Private
Kravitz immediately seized the weapon and poured devastating fire into
the ranks of the onrushing assailants. The enemy effected and exploited a
breach on the left flank, rendering the friendly positions untenable.
Upon order to withdraw, Private Kravitz voluntarily remained to provide
protective fire for the retiring elements. Traversing the gun to the
left to cover the infiltrating enemy and ignoring the pleadings of his
comrades to fall back, he fearlessly maintained his position. Detecting a
column of Communist troops moving toward friendly positions, he swept
the hostile soldiers with deadly, accurate fire, killing the entire
group. His destructive retaliation caused the enemy to concentrate
vicious fire on his position and enabled the friendly elements to effect
a withdrawal. After the strong point was rescued, Private Kravitz’s
body was found lying beside the gun he had so heroically manned and
numerous enemy dead lay in and around his emplacement. Private Kravitz’s
incredible display of valor set an inspiring example for his comrades.
His unflinching courage and consummate devotion to duty reflect the
highest credit on himself and uphold the finest traditions of the
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Kravitz received the Distinguished
Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal
with one Bronze Service Star, United Nations Service Medal, Combat
Infantryman Badge, Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal, and
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.