Louis van Iersel

  (Redirected from Ludovicus M. M. Van Iersel)

Ludovicus Maria Matheus Van Iersel (19 October 1893 – 9 June 1987) was a Sergeant in United States Army, Company M, 9th Infantry, 2d Division during World War I. He earned the highest military decoration for valor in combat—the Medal of Honor—for having distinguished himself at Mouzon, France.

Ludovicus M. M. Van Iersel
Ludovicus M. M. Van Iersel.jpg
Sergeant Ludovicus M. M. Van Iersel
Born(1893-10-19)October 19, 1893
Dussen, Netherlands
DiedJune 9, 1987(1987-06-09) (aged 93)
Sierra Madre, California, US
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States
Years of service
  • 1917–1919 (Army)
  • 1943–1945 (Marine Corps)

Born in Dussen the Netherlands, Van Iersel served on several merchant ships following the outbreak of the war. Van Iersel arrived in New Jersey in early 1917, enlisting in the army shortly afterwards. He learned English in his first few months of military service.

He became a naturalised American citizen in September 1919, six months after receiving the Medal of Honor, and changed his name to Louis Van Iersel. After acquiring citizenship he returned to his birth country and married with Hendrika de Ronde (1899–1979) in August 1920. They returned to the United States later that month and settled in California a year later. In 1946 he and his wife settled in Sierra Madre, California.

During World War II, he joined the Marine Corps and served with the 3rd Marine Division in the Bougainville Campaign.

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Van Iersel at U.S. Marine recruiting headquarters in Los Angeles, being sworn in to fight in World War II (1942)


While a member of the reconnaissance patrol, sent out at night to ascertain the condition of a damaged bridge, Sgt. Van Iersel volunteered to lead a party across the bridge in the face of heavy machinegun and rifle fire from a range of only 75 yards. Crawling alone along the debris of the ruined bridge he came upon a trap, which gave away and precipitated him into the water. In spite of the swift current he succeeded in swimming across the stream and found a lodging place among the timbers on the opposite bank. Disregarding the enemy fire, he made a careful investigation of the hostile position by which the bridge was defended and then returned to the other bank of the river, reporting this valuable information to the battalion commander.

Military awardsEdit

van Iersel's military decorations and awards include:[1][2]

1st row Medal of Honor Purple Heart
2nd row World War I Victory Medal w/ one silver service star to denote credit for the Aisne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Defensive Sector battle clasps. Army of Occupation of Germany Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/one bronze service star for the Consolidation of Northern Solomons campaign
3nd row World War II Victory Medal Médaille militaire (French Republic) Croix de guerre 1914–1918 w/two bronze palms and one silver star (French Republic)
4th row Croce al Merito di Guerra (Italy) Medal for Military Bravery (Kingdom of Montenegro) Sea Gallantry Medal.[3][4] (Great Britain)
Unit Award French Fourragère – Authorized permanent wear based on three French Croix de Guerre with Palm unit citations awarded the 9th Infantry Regiment for Chateau-Thierry, Aisne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Medals of Honor by James Marie Hopper. The John Day Company, New York. pp. 230–255.
  2. ^ History of Passaic and Its Environs, Volume III by William W. Scott. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 273–274.
  3. ^ Medals of Honor by James Marie Hopper=1929. The John Day Company, New York. p. 232.
  4. ^ The Sea Gallantry Medal by Robert J. Scarlett. Orders and Medals Research Society. ISBN 978-0953920785.
  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

External linksEdit