Ernest W. Prussman
|Ernest W. Prussman|
Saint James American Cemetery
|Died||September 8, 1944
near Loscoat, Brittany, France
|Place of burial||Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1942 - 1944|
|Rank||Private First Class|
|Unit||13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Ernest W. Prussman (1921 – September 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.
He was born in 1921 in Baltimore, Maryland to Herbert Werner Prussman.
Prussman joined the Army from Brighton, Massachusetts in October 1942 and by September 8, 1944 was serving as a private first class in the 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. On that day, near Loscoat (now an industrial district of Brest) in Brittany, France, Prussman advanced ahead of his unit and single-handedly captured several enemy soldiers and destroyed a machine gun nest before being killed. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor seven months later, on April 17, 1945.
Medal of Honor citation
Private First Class Prussman's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on September 8, 1944, near Les Coates [most probably a wrong transcription of Loscoat], Brittany, France. When the advance of the flank companies of 2 battalions was halted by intense enemy mortar, machinegun, and sniper fire from a fortified position on his left, Pfc. Prussman maneuvered his squad to assault the enemy fortifications. Hurdling a hedgerow, he came upon 2 enemy riflemen whom he disarmed. After leading his squad across an open field to the next hedgerow, he advanced to a machinegun position, destroyed the gun, captured its crew and 2 riflemen. Again advancing ahead of his squad in the assault, he was mortally wounded by an enemy rifleman, but as he fell to the ground he threw a handgrenade, killing his opponent. His superb leadership and heroic action at the cost of his life so demoralized the enemy that resistance at this point collapsed, permitting the 2 battalions to continue their advance.