News: Wainwright range dedicated to World War II hero
Story by Maj. Joel Anderson
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - The post's Small Arms Range Training Complex was dedicated Aug. 21 to the memory of Donald E. Rudolph Sr., who earned the Medal of Honor in World War II. Rudolph served with the 20th Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Division, throughout the Pacific campaign, most notably in New Guinea and the Philippines.
He received the honor as a result of a fierce combat action on the island of Luzon, Philippines.
Rudolph's original Medal of Honor citation states: "2d Lt. Rudolph (then tech sergeant) was acting as platoon leader at Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands. While administering first aid on the battlefield, he observed enemy fire issuing from a nearby culvert. Crawling to the culvert with rifle and grenades, he killed three of the enemy concealed there. He then worked his way across open terrain toward a line of enemy pillboxes which had immobilized his company. Nearing the first pillbox, he hurled a grenade through its embrasure and charged the position."
That was not the end of the engagement for Rudolph and the Japanese troops he fought that day, as the citation notes: "With his bare hands he tore away the wood and tin covering, then dropped a grenade through the opening, killing the enemy gunners and destroyed their machine gun. Ordering several riflemen to cover his further advance, 2d Lt. Rudolph seized a pick mattock and made his way to the second pillbox. Piercing its top with the mattock, he dropped a grenade through the hole, fired several rounds from his rifle into it and smothered any surviving enemy by sealing the hole and the embrasure with earth. In quick succession he attacked and neutralized 6 more pillboxes. Later, when his platoon was attacked by an enemy tank, he advanced under covering fire, climbed to the top of the tank and dropped a white phosphorus grenade through the turret, destroying the crew. Through his outstanding heroism, superb courage, and leadership, and complete disregard for his own safety, 2d Lt. Rudolph cleared a path for an advance which culminated in one of the most decisive victories of the Philippine campaign."
Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commanding general, U.S. Army Alaska, said, "When I think about what Donald Rudolph did [to earn the MOH] and especially after having an opportunity to meet with the family, I can tell he was the kind of man who did what needed to be done. He didn't walk by or walk away when something needed to be done."
Rudolph, a Minnesota continued to serve in the Army after the war,
following a brief break in service and retired as a Master Sgt. in 1963.
Greg Swallows of Range Control added, "Having the legacy of Donald
Rudolph Sr. finally memorialized properly at the entrance of the range
complex is making good on a promise that dates back all the way to 1986, when the range was originally dedicated to him. It's a great addition to our facility and we are very proud to share that legacy and this event with his son and daughter-in-law here with us today."
Rudolph's legacy was also reflected through his son, Donald Rudolph
Jr.'s Army career.
Rudolph's son, Donald, Jr., now retired and living just outside Fort
Myer, Va., said, "My father was a simple man who, like other MOH recipients I've met, didn't consider himself a hero. He considered those who didn't come home the true heroes. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for bestowing this honor on my father."
The generation of American warriors that fought and won the second
World War were a truly great generation and they continue to be a shining example for our warriors today as they hone their warfighting skills.