Harold Crist Agerholm was born in Racine, Wisconsin on January 29, 1925. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve at age 17 on July 16, 1942. After recruit training, he was posted as an artilleryman in the active United States Marine Corps with the Headquarters & Service Battery, 4th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
Agerholm, a veteran of the Battle of Tarawa, landed on Saipan with the 2nd Marine Division on June 9, 1944. After nearly a month of heavy fighting, and with the battle almost done, the Japanese enemy launched a vicious, last-ditch counter-attack on July 7, 1944.
During that attack, Agerholm personally evacuated at least forty-five of his wounded comrades while under enemy fire. He was running back into danger to rescue two more when an enemy sniper’s shot claimed him. His Medal of Honor was later presented privately to his mother on June 25, 1945.
*AGERHOLM, HAROLD CHRIST
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 4th Battalion, 10th Marines, 2d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan, Marianas Islands, 7 July 1944. When the enemy launched a fierce, determined counterattack against our positions and overran a neighboring artillery battalion, Pfc. Agerholm immediately volunteered to assist in the efforts to check the hostile attack and evacuate our wounded. Locating and appropriating an abandoned ambulance jeep, he repeatedly made extremely perilous trips under heavy rifle and mortar fire and single-handedly loaded and evacuated approximately 45 casualties, working tirelessly and with utter disregard for his own safety during a grueling period of more than 3 hours. Despite intense, persistent enemy fire, he ran out to aid 2 men whom he believed to be wounded marines but was himself mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper while carrying out his hazardous mission. Pfc. Agerholm’s brilliant initiative, great personal valor and self-sacrificing efforts in the face of almost certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.