The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*MERRELL, JOSEPH F.
Rank and Organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company
I, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and Date Near Lohe, Germany, 18 April
1945. Entered Service at: Staten Island, N.Y. Birth: Staten Island, N.Y. G.O.
No.: 21, 26 February 1946.
He made a gallant, 1-man attack against vastly superior enemy forces near Lohe, Germany.
His unit, attempting a quick conquest of hostile hill positions that would open the route
to Nuremberg before the enemy could organize his defense of that city, was pinned down by
brutal fire from rifles, machine pistols, and 2 heavy machineguns. Entirely on his own
initiative, Pvt. Merrell began a single-handed assault. He ran 100 yards through
concentrated fire, barely escaping death at each stride, and at pointblank range engaged 4
German machine pistolmen with his rifle, killing all of them while their bullets ripped
his uniform. As he started forward again, his rifle was smashed by a sniper's bullet,
leaving him armed only with 3 grenades. But he did not hesitate. He zigzagged 200 yards
through a hail of bullets to within 10 yards of the first machinegun, where he hurled 2
grenades and then rushed the position ready to fight with his bare hands if necessary. In
the emplacement he seized a Luger pistol and killed what Germans had survived the grenade
blast. Rearmed, he crawled toward the second machinegun located 30 yards away, killing 4
Germans in camouflaged foxholes on the way, but himself receiving a critical wound in the
abdomen. And yet he went on, staggering, bleeding, disregarding bullets which tore through
the folds of his clothing and glanced off his helmet. He threw his last grenade into the
machinegun nest and stumbled on to wipe out the crew. He had completed this self-appointed
task when a machine pistol burst killed him instantly. In his spectacular 1-man attack
Pvt. Merrell killed 6 Germans in the first machinegun emplacement, 7 in the next, and an
additional 10 infantrymen who were astride his path to the weapons which would have
decimated his unit had he not assumed the burden of the assault and stormed the enemy
positions with utter fearlessness, intrepidity of the highest order, and a willingness to
sacrifice his own life so that his comrades could go on to victory.