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Ernest Richard Kouma

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U.S. Army
Medal Of Honor, Korea

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Sergeant First Class Kouma unit was supporting infantry elements on the Naktong River front near midnight when a hostile force estimated at 500 crossed the river and launched a fierce attack inflicting heavy casualties. A withdrawal was ordered and his armored unit was given the mission of covering the movement. The enemy assault overran two tanks, destroyed one and forced another to withdraw. Master Sergeant Kouma discovered that his tank was the only obstacle in the path of the hostile onslaught. Holding his ground, he gave fire orders to his crew and remained in position throughout the night. During one fierce assault the enemy surrounded his tank and he leaped from the armored turret, exposing himself to a hail of hostile fire, manned the .50 caliber machinegun, and delivered pointblank fire into the fanatical foe. His machinegun emptied, he fired his pistol and threw grenades to keep the enemy at bay. After more than nine hours of combat he withdrew to friendly lines. During the withdrawal through eight miles of hostile territory, he continued to inflict casualties on the enemy and exhausted his ammunition in destroying three hostile machinegun positions. During this action, Master Sergeant Kouma killed an estimated 250 enemy soldiers.

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