Junior J. Spurrier
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|Junior James Spurrier|
December 14, 1922|
Russell County, Virginia
|Died||February 25, 1984
|Place of burial||Mountain Home National Cemetery, Johnson City, Tennessee|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1940-1951|
|Unit||Company G, 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division|
Junior James Spurrier, born James I. Spurrier, Jr., was a former United States Army soldier who received the United States' two highest military decorations for valor—the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross—for his heroic actions in World War II.
U.S. Army career
In September of 1940, he voluntarily enlisted into the United States Army from Richmond, Virginia. Spurrier filled his name in the wrong blanks when enlisting and became known to the Army throughout his time in service as "Junior J. Spurrier." During World War II, he served as a squad leader with Company G, 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. On September 16, 1944, near Lay St. Christopher, France, he earned the Distinguished Service Cross for spearheading an assault on a stubbornly-defended hill position. While twice positioning himself on an American tank destroyer, Spurrier used its .50 caliber machine gun to kill over 12 German soldiers and force the surrender of 22 others. While fighting on the ground, he personally destroyed two enemy dugouts with grenades. Spurrier was awarded a Purple Heart for being wounded in action on September 21, 1944. Spurrier was wounded again on December 9, 1944, receiving a second Purple Heart.
Medal of Honor
On November 13, 1944, Spurrier singlehandedly attacked and fought Germans in the village of Achain, Moselle, France. Spurrier repeatedly returned to his company's command post with prisoners, and replenished his ammunition from both American and enemy weapons to continue his attack on the occupied village. Spurrier earned the Medal of Honor for nearly single-handedly capturing the village of Achain that day. He received the Medal of Honor on March 6, 1945 from Lt. Gen. William Hood Simpson.
Post-World War II and death
Spurrier had a very turbulent life after the war. He had a severe problem with alcohol, was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1951, and served two jail sentences. He died on February 25, 1984 in Tennessee. He is buried in Mountain Home National Cemetery, Johnson City, Tennessee. On December 2, 2011, Spurrier's Medal of Honor was returned to his family after being located by Granville, West Virginia police chief Craig Corkrean, in a safe belonging to his father.
Medal of Honor citation
Staff Sergeant Junior J. Spurrier's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy at Achain, France, on 13 November 1944. At 2 p.m., Company G attacked the village of Achain from the east. S/Sgt. Spurrier armed with a BAR passed around the village and advanced alone. Attacking from the west, he immediately killed 3 Germans. From this time until dark, S/Sgt. Spurrier, using at different times his BAR and Ml rifle, American and German rocket launchers, a German automatic pistol, and handgrenades, continued his solitary attack against the enemy regardless of all types of small-arms and automatic-weapons fire. As a result of his heroic actions he killed an officer and 24 enlisted men and captured 2 officers and 2 enlisted men. His valor has shed fresh honor on the U.S. Armed Forces.