Dirk J. Vlug

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Dirk J. Vlug
Born (1916-08-20)August 20, 1916
Maple Lake, Minnesota
Died June 25, 1996(1996-06-25) (aged 79)
Place of burial Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1941 - 1951
Rank Master Sergeant
Unit 1st Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor

Dirk John Vlug [1] (August 20, 1916 – June 25, 1996) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

Biography[edit]

Vlug joined the Army from Grand Rapids, Michigan in April 1941,[2] and by December 15, 1944 was serving as a private first class in the 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. On that day, near Limon in the Philippine province of Leyte, Vlug single-handedly destroyed five enemy tanks. For his actions, he was issued the Medal of Honor a year and a half later, on June 26, 1946. He subsequently left the army and joined the Michigan National Guard in May 1949, retiring with the rank of Master Sergeant in January 1951.[3]

Vlug died at age 79 and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Private First Class Vlug's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty when an American roadblock on the Ormoc Road was attacked by a group of enemy tanks. He left his covered position, and with a rocket launcher and 6 rounds of ammunition, advanced alone under intense machine gun and 37-mm. fire. Loading single-handedly, he destroyed the first tank, killing its occupants with a single round. As the crew of the second tank started to dismount and attack him, he killed 1 of the foe with his pistol, forcing the survivors to return to their vehicle, which he then destroyed with a second round. Three more hostile tanks moved up the road, so he flanked the first and eliminated it, and then, despite a hail of enemy fire, pressed forward again to destroy another. With his last round of ammunition he struck the remaining vehicle, causing it to crash down a steep embankment. Through his sustained heroism in the face of superior forces, Pfc. Vlug alone destroyed 5 enemy tanks and greatly facilitated successful accomplishment of his battalion's mission.

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