Monday, May 27, 2013

Medal of Honor: Cpl. Edward G. Wilkin - Longmeadow, MA


Interesting Places I've Photographed
Corporal Edward G. Wilkin
Longmeadow, MA
Topic: Medal of Honor Recipient 
Corporal Edward G. Wilkin

Family Headstone
Inscription
GPS: N42° 02.990; W072° 34.850

Quick Description: 

The grave of Medal of Honor recipient, Corporal Edward G. Wilkin, is located in Longmeadow Cemetery, Longmeadow, MA.

Long Description:

Edward G. Wilkin was born in Burlington, VT on May 25, 1917. He joined the Army in December 1943 while living in Longmeadow, MA. He was a Corporal in Company C, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division fighting in Germany when, on March 18, 1945, he risked his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. One month later, on April 18, 1945 he was killed in action. He was was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on December 17, 1945.

Medal of Honor Plaque

Corporal Edward G. Wilkin's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

"He spearheaded his unit's assault of the Siegfried Line in Germany. Heavy fire from enemy riflemen and camouflaged pillboxes had pinned down his comrades when he moved forward on his own initiative to reconnoiter a route of advance. He cleared the way into an area studded with pillboxes, where he repeatedly stood up and walked into vicious enemy fire, storming 1 fortification after another with automatic rifle fire and grenades, killing enemy troops, taking prisoners as the enemy defense became confused, and encouraging his comrades by his heroic example. When halted by heavy barbed wire entanglements, he secured bangalore torpedoes and blasted a path toward still more pillboxes, all the time braving bursting grenades and mortar shells and direct rifle and automatic-weapons fire. He engaged in fierce fire fights, standing in the open while his adversaries fought from the protection of concrete emplacements, and on 1 occasion pursued enemy soldiers across an open field and through interlocking trenches, disregarding the crossfire from 2 pillboxes until he had penetrated the formidable line 200 yards in advance of any American element. That night, although terribly fatigued, he refused to rest and insisted on distributing rations and supplies to his comrades. Hearing that a nearby company was suffering heavy casualties, he secured permission to guide litter bearers and assist them in evacuating the wounded. All that night he remained in the battle area on his mercy missions, and for the following 2 days he continued to remove casualties, venturing into enemy-held territory, scorning cover and braving devastating mortar and artillery bombardments. In 3 days he neutralized and captured 6 pillboxes single-handedly, killed at least 9 Germans, wounded 13, took 13 prisoners, aided in the capture of 14 others, and saved many American lives by his fearless performance as a litter bearer. Through his superb fighting skill, dauntless courage, and gallant, inspiring actions, Cpl. Wilkin contributed in large measure to his company's success in cracking the Siegfried Line. One month later he was killed in action while fighting deep in Germany."

A granite stone with a bronze plaque marks the head of his grave. The plaque is inscribed:


THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
TO ALL WHO SHALL SEE THESE PRESENTS, GREETING:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
PURSUANT TO ACTS OF CONGRESS APPROVED MARCH 3, 1863
AND JULY 9, 1918, HAS AWARDED IN THE NAME OF CONGRESS TO
CORPORAL EDWARD G WILKIN A.S. NO. 31,416,626
THE MEDAL OF HONOR
FOR
CONSPICUOUS GALLENTRY AND INTREPIDITY INVOLVING
RISK OF LIFE ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY
IN ACTION WITH THE ENEMY
NEAR THE SIEGFRIED LINE GERMANY, ON 18 MARCH 1945

GIVEN UNDER MY HAND IN THE CITY OF WASHINGTON
THIS 8TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER 1945
HENRY L. STIMPSON
SECRETARY OF WAR

Below the plaque the granite gravestone is inscribed:


MAY 25, 1917 --- APRIL 18, 1945 KILLED IN ACTION

At the foot of the grave and flush to the ground is a bronze plaque which is inscribed:


{IMAGE OF THE MEDAL OF HONOR}
EDWARD G WILKIN
MEDAL OF HONOR
CPL US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
MAY 25 1917 {ROMAN CROSS} APR 18 1945

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