KERSTETTER, DEXTER J.
Rank and organization: Private First Class,
U.S. Army, Company C, 130th Infantry, 33d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near
Galiano, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 13 April 1945. Entered service at: Centralia,
Wash. Birth: Centralia, Wash. G.O. No: 97,1 November 1945.
He was with his unit in a dawn attack against hill positions approachable only along a
narrow ridge paralleled on each side by steep cliffs which were heavily defended by enemy
mortars, machineguns, and rifles in well-camouflaged spider holes and tunnels leading to
caves. When the leading element was halted by intense fire that inflicted 5 casualties,
Pfc. Kerstetter passed through the American line with his squad. Placing himself well in
advance of his men, he grimly worked his way up the narrow steep hogback, meeting the
brunt of enemy action. With well-aimed shots and rifle-grenade fire, he forced the Japs to
take cover. He left the trail and moving down a cliff that offered only precarious
footholds, dropped among 4 Japs at the entrance to a cave, fired his rifle from his hip
and killed them all. Climbing back to the trail, he advanced against heavy enemy
machinegun, rifle, and mortar fire to silence a heavy machinegun by killing its crew of 4
with rifle fire and grenades. He expended his remaining ammunition and grenades on a group
of approximately 20 Japs, scattering them, and returned to his squad for more ammunition
and first aid for his left hand, which had been blistered by the heat from his rifle.
Resupplied, he guided a fresh platoon into a position from which a concerted attack could
be launched, killing 3 hostile soldiers on the way. In all, he dispatched 16 Japs that
day. The hill was taken and held against the enemy's counterattacks, which continued for 3
days. Pfc. Kerstetter's dauntless and gallant heroism was largely responsible for the
capture of this key enemy position, and his fearless attack in the face of great odds was
an inspiration to his comrades in their dangerous task.