Ernest West


US Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

Ernest West was drafted into the United States Army in 1950. By October 12, 1952, he was serving in Korea as a private first class with Company L, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. After his unit was ambushed near Sataeri on that day, he ignored heavy fire to rescue his wounded Captain. As he was pulling the man to safety, three hostile soldiers tried to get the best of him. West jumped on and shielded the commander with his body and killed the attackers with his rifle, suffering a wound which resulted in the loss of his eye in the process. Brushing off the injury, he remained, ensured that the rest of the men were able to get out safely, and stacked the souls of three more enemy combatants.

For these actions, West was awarded the Medal of Honor just over a year later, on January 29, 1954. He was hesitant to receive the honor, believing that “if one was going to get a medal, everybody ought to have one. We all went, we all served. Just a humble man, doing what needed to be done.
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