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Ralph G. Neppel

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Ralph George Neppel (October 31, 1923 – January 27, 1987) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II shortly before the Battle of the Bulge.

Ralph George Neppel
Born (1923-10-31)October 31, 1923
Willey, Iowa
Died January 27, 1987(1987-01-27) (aged 63)
Holy Family Cemetery, Lidderdale, Iowa
Place of burial Holy Family Cemetery, Lidderdale, Iowa
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943 - 1946
Rank Technical Sergeant
Unit 329th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor

Contents

BiographyEdit

Neppel joined the Army from Glidden, Iowa in March 1943, and by December 14, 1944 was serving as a Sergeant in Company M, 329th Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division. During a German counterattack on that day, at Birgel, Germany, his leg was severed by enemy fire, but he continued to man his machine gun until the German force withdrew. Neppel survived his wounds, although his remaining leg was badly damaged and had to be amputated. Nine months after the battle, on September 10, 1945, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Neppel reached the rank of technical sergeant before being discharged in February 1946. He died at age 63 and was buried in Holy Family Cemetery, Lidderdale, Iowa.

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Sergeant Neppel's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

He was leader of a machinegun squad defending an approach to the village of Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen, counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked the foot soldiers beside the tank killing several of them. The enemy armor continued to press forward and, at the pointblank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his gun, had 1 leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position on his elbows, remounted his gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen. Stripped of its infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke a determined counterattack.

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