William R. Shockley

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William Ralph Shockley
William PFC.jpg  Army Medal of Honor.jpg
William R. Shockley
Born (1918-12-04)December 4, 1918
Bokoshe, Oklahoma
Died March 31, 1945(1945-03-31) (aged 26)
Luzon, the Philippines
Place of burial Floral Memorial Cemetery, Selma, California
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Private First Class
Unit 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor
Bronze Star
Purple Heart (2)

William Ralph Shockley (December 4, 1918 – March 31, 1945) 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 December 4, 1918 in Bokoshe, Oklahoma and enlisted in the Army from Selma, California. By March 31, 1945 he was serving as a private first class in Company L, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. During a Japanese counterattack on that day, on the Villa Verde Trail in Luzon, the Philippines, he voluntarily stayed behind and provided covering fire while the rest of his unit retreated. Shockley was killed by the advancing Japanese soldiers. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor seven months later, on October 19, 1945.

Shockley, aged 26 at his death, was buried in Floral Memorial Cemetery, Selma, California.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

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

He was in position with his unit on a hill when the enemy, after a concentration of artillery fire, launched a counterattack. He maintained his position under intense enemy fire and urged his comrades to withdraw, saying that he would "remain to the end" to provide cover. Although he had to clear two stoppages which impeded the reloading of his weapon, he halted one enemy charge. Hostile troops then began moving in on his left flank, and he quickly shifted his gun to fire on them. Knowing that the only route of escape was being cut off by the enemy, he ordered the remainder of his squad to withdraw to safety and deliberately remained at his post. He continued to fire until he was killed during the ensuing enemy charge. Later, four Japanese were found dead in front of his position. Pfc. Shockley, facing certain death, sacrificed himself to save his fellow soldiers, but the heroism and gallantry displayed by him enabled his squad to reorganize and continue its attack.

See also[edit]