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.

Personal photo taken by Dirk J. Vlug of destroyed Japanese tanks.
Dirk J. Vlug is welcomed home during parade in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


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 awarded 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.

See also[edit]


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