Farewell Walter Ehlers: Only 7 World War II Medal of Honor recipients remain

Walter Ehlers belonged to the “Greatest Generation” — men like my dad who left the warmth of homes to fight the tyranny of Naziism, fascism and imperialism. They are the men for whom our eyes well up when we meet them and hear their stories.

Today unfortunately we bid farewell to a piece of American history: World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Walter D. Ehlers.

When Ehlers was 23 years old, he charged through enemy fire to destroy two German machine gun nests, killed seven enemy soldiers, put a halt to a mortar barrage and carried a wounded buddy to safety – all after he had been shot in the side by a sniper. The date was June 9, 1944 at Normandy. His mission was to liberate Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.

Ehlers’ passing leaves only seven surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipients.

His wife, Dorothy, told Fox News, “Walt was the kindest, gentlest person, and you would never have known he could have done the things that he did. He always said, ‘if it’s you or them, you make sure it’s them.’”

To Ehlers, however, the real hero in the family was his older brother Roland, who enlisted with Walter in 1940. The day before the Normandy landings, military superiors separated the two brothers to improve the odds that at least one of them would survive. Walter, then a staff sergeant, made it off the boat on June 6 and helped all 12 of his men survive the landing. His brother, arriving on another boat, was killed. In later life, Ehlers would say he wore the medal to honor those who didn’t come home – his brother included.

Ehlers leaves behind his daughters Cathy Metcalf and Tracy Kilpatrick; his son, Lt. Col. (ret.) Walter D. Ehlers Jr.; sisters Leona Porter, Marjorie Gustin and Gloria Salberg; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. “One of the last things he said before he passed away was, ‘tell my Medal of Honor brothers goodbye.”

Walter D. Ehlers served in the US Army 1st Infantry Division — The Big Red One — landing on Omaha Beach. Decades after Ehlers, I served in the First Infantry Division as a young captain and deployed in Operation Desert Storm. We have a simple motto, “No Mission too Difficult, No Sacrifice too Great, Duty First.”

Farewell Sir, see you on the high ground. Duty First!

17 COMMENTS

  1. Walter D. Ehlers. R.I.P. You certainly deserve the rest. Your bravery, valor and courage will never be forgotten. Your name and deeds are etched in history for all eternity. God bless you and your Family for their and your, sacrifice and service.

  2. Our GREATEST THANKS & HONOR to all the WWII vets! My uncle was a Col in the Army Air Force (Before it was the USAF) in the Pacific and Iwo. I have a letter from him written on a jap military map he got from the caves there! A GREAT HERO!

  3. While serving in the army (KsARNG) with I was fortunate to have met this great man on several occasions. He always was a true gentleman.

  4. Try to understand that these HEROS before we where born fought for our FREEDOM. They were lead by a President with HONOR, DIGINTY, COURAGE , BRAVERY with one thing on his mind, VICTORY nothing less. No compromise, FREEDOM ONLY. You didn’t see these men riding around the white house on a little girlie bicycle, apologize for being a free nation, ect.-ect.-ect.. These men were TUFF, not like this little pu–y of a human in the oval office. I served in the military and proud of it. I would serve again but I am to old. I pray to God that this country will never come under attack, but if it does, I will be the first to pick up a weapon and fight to the death. I LOVE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

  5. This country is under attack wake up america and honor these men who gave the ultimate sacrafice to protect this great nation which is niw being destroyed by the man in iffice and the people who support him. Thank you for your service walter. Glad you dont have to watch this country fall any longer. You and all who served in this time were the greatest generation to bad the america you saved has firgoten what you so vallently fought for

  6. You may be scared spitless, but when it comes to the point, you do what you have to do to help your brother and keep them safe. God bless the greatest generation ever.

  7. bet Obama doen’t recognize him.
    what a shame the wrong person had to go.
    LT.EHLERS, R.I.P. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY WHEN
    IT CALLED.
    OLD SARGE,’NAM VET

  8. The greatest generation they don’t make em like that anymore what a crying shame what this nation has become! Keep up the good work Allen there are millions of Americans who support you and your cause. You know your making a difference when they attack you relenlessly but be of good cheer my man we support you unconditionally!

  9. God bless you and yours, Sir! Thank you for what you have done! We WILL continue the fight to preserve what you have so selflessly given us!
    Semper Remedius!

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