Privates First Class Leonard C. Brostrom & John F. Thorson, USA (October 28, 1944)

site link Seventy years ago today during the Battle of Leyte in the Philippines near Dagami, two United States Army soldiers went above and beyond the normal call of duty as members of the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.

http://sbvwm.com/availables-2/ They were Leonard C. Brostrom (born November 23, 1919) and John F. Thorson (born May 10, 1920). Both brave Americans gave their lives in the defense of freedom and were killed in action on October 28, 1944. Both men posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (A-F):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

*BROSTROM, LEONARD C.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company F, 17th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands, 28 October 1944. Entered service at: Preston, Idaho. G.O. No.: 104, 15 November 1945

Citation: He was a rifleman with an assault platoon which ran into powerful resistance near Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands, on 28 October 1944. From pillboxes, trenches, and spider holes, so well camouflaged that they could be detected at no more than 20 yards, the enemy poured machinegun and rifle fire, causing severe casualties in the platoon. Realizing that a key pillbox in the center of the strong point would have to be knocked out if the company were to advance, Pfc. Bostrom, without orders and completely ignoring his own safety, ran forward to attack the pillbox with grenades. He immediately became the prime target for all the riflemen in the area, as he rushed to the rear of the pillbox and tossed grenades through the entrance. Six enemy soldiers left a trench in a bayonet charge against the heroic American, but he killed 1 and drove the others off with rifle fire. As he threw more grenades from his completely exposed position he was wounded several times in the abdomen and knocked to the ground. Although suffering intense pain and rapidly weakening from loss of blood, he slowly rose to his feet and once more hurled his deadly missiles at the pillbox. As he collapsed, the enemy began fleeing from the fortification and were killed by riflemen of his platoon. Pfc. Brostrom died while being carried from the battlefield, but his intrepidity and unhesitating willingness to sacrifice himself in a l-man attack against overwhelming odds enabled his company to reorganize against attack, and annihilate the entire enemy position.

Brostrom’s remains were repatriated to the United States and laid to rest in the Preston Cemetery, Preston, Idaho.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (T-Z):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

*THORSON, JOHN F.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company G, 17th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division. Place and date: Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands, 28 October 1944. Entered service at: Armstrong, Iowa. G.O. No.: 58, 19 July 1945

Citation: He was an automatic rifleman on 28 October 1944, in the attack on Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands. A heavily fortified enemy position consisting of pillboxes and supporting trenches held up the advance of his company. His platoon was ordered to out-flank and neutralize the strongpoint. Voluntarily moving well out in front of his group, Pvt. Thorson came upon an enemy fire trench defended by several hostile riflemen and, disregarding the intense fire directed at him, attacked single-handed He was seriously wounded and fell about 6 yards from the trench. Just as the remaining 20 members of the platoon reached him, 1 of the enemy threw a grenade into their midst. Shouting a warning and making a final effort, Pvt. Thorson rolled onto the grenade and smothered the explosion with his body. He was instantly killed, but his magnificent courage and supreme self-sacrifice prevented the injury and possible death of his comrades, and remain with them as a lasting inspiration.

Thorson’s body was also brought home and laid to rest in the Keokuk National Cemetery, Keokuk, Iowa.

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