The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*KANELL, BILLIE G.
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army,
Company I, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near
Pyongyang, Korea, 7 September 1951. Entered service at: Poplar Bluff, Mo. Born:
26 June 1931, Poplar Bluff, Mo. G.O. No.: 57, 13 June 1952.
Pvt. Kanell, a member of Company I, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and
outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. A
numerically superior hostile force had launched a fanatical assault against friendly
positions, supported by mortar and artillery fire, when Pvt. Kanell stood in his
emplacement exposed to enemy observation and action and delivered accurate fire into the
ranks of the assailants. An enemy grenade was hurled into his emplacement and Pvt. Kanell
threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the blast with his body to protect 2 of his
comrades from serious injury and possible death. A few seconds later another grenade was
thrown into the emplacement and, although seriously wounded by the first missile, he
summoned his waning strength to roll toward the second grenade and used his body as a
shield to again protect his comrades. He was mortally wounded as a result of his heroic
actions. His indomitable courage, sustained fortitude against overwhelming odds, and
gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S.