Elmer E. Fryar
|Elmer E. Fryar|
February 10, 1914|
|Died||December 8, 1944
Leyte, the Philippines
|Place of burial||not recovered|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Unit||511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Medal of Honor
Purple Heart (2)
Elmer E. Fryar (February 10, 1914 – December 8, 1944) 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.
At age nineteen Fryar joined the Army from his birth city of Denver, Colorado, and served three years. After leaving service in the Army he joined the Marines for four years of service, returning to civilian life in Lakewood, Colorado until the U. S. became involved in World War II. He re-enlisted in the Army, and by December 8, 1944 was serving as a private in Company E, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division. On that day, in Leyte, the Philippines, he single-handedly held off an enemy platoon which was trying to flank his company. Later, while helping a wounded soldier to the rear, he saw an enemy sniper aiming at his platoon leader. Fryar jumped forward and blocked the sniper's fire with his body. Although mortally wounded, he managed to kill the sniper with a hand grenade before succumbing. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor five months later, on May 9, 1945.
Medal of Honor citation
Private Fryar's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pvt. Fryar's battalion encountered the enemy strongly entrenched in a position supported by mortars and automatic weapons. The battalion attacked, but in spite of repeated efforts was unable to take the position. Pvt. Fryar's company was ordered to cover the battalion's withdrawal to a more suitable point from which to attack, but the enemy launched a strong counterattack which threatened to cut off the company. Seeing an enemy platoon moving to outflank his company, he moved to higher ground and opened heavy and accurate fire. He was hit, and wounded, but continuing his attack he drove the enemy back with a loss of 27 killed. While withdrawing to overtake his squad, he found a seriously wounded comrade, helped him to the rear, and soon overtook his platoon leader, who was assisting another wounded. While these 4 were moving to rejoin their platoon, an enemy sniper appeared and aimed his weapon at the platoon leader. Pvt. Fryar instantly sprang forward, received the full burst of automatic fire in his own body and fell mortally wounded. With his remaining strength he threw a hand grenade and killed the sniper. Pvt. Fryar's indomitable fighting spirit and extraordinary gallantry above and beyond the call of duty contributed outstandingly to the success of the battalion's withdrawal and its subsequent attack and defeat of the enemy. His heroic action in unhesitatingly giving his own life for his comrade in arms exemplifies the highest tradition of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- The parachute landing zone at Fort Benning, Ga., used for training and graduating students in the U.S. Army Airborne School, is named in Fryar's honor.
- The football stadium on Fort Campbell, Kentucky, onetime home of Fryar's old 11th Airborne Division, also bears his name.
- There is also a U.S. Army Reserve training center named after him in his home state of Colorado.
- In Stadtbergen (near Augsburg/Germany) a street is named Elmer-Fryar-Circle".
- "Colorado Freedom Memorial Honoree Elmer E. Fryar". Colorado Freedom Memorial. Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- A film clip "Beaten Nazis Sign Historic Surrender, 1945/05/14 (1945)" is available at the Internet Archive
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
- "Fryar Elmer". World War II Burial Listing. American Battle Monuments Commission. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Medal of Honor recipients - World War II (A–F)". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. July 16, 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Heroism Rewarded". Universal News Reels. Internet Archive. May 9, 1945. Retrieved 2008-10-08.