Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cpl. Lawrence Jerrell: Distinguished Service Cross 1952

Lawrence County News April 24, 1952

Local soldier to be Honored: 
Cpl. Lawrence E. Jerrell to Receive Posthumous Award of Distinguished Service Cross; 
Killed in Action

A special award service for Cpl. Lawrence E. Jerrell, deceased, will be held at the American Legion home in Lawrenceville May third, at 2 PM at which time the Distinguished Service Cross will be awarded posthumously.The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest award given by the United States government.

Cpl. Lawrence E. Jerrell, a Lawrence County resident, was the son of Emmett Jewell, residing East of Lawrenceville. He was killed in action on September 7, 1951, and the following citation in the name of the Commander – in – Chief, Far East, is signed by Brig. General. O. C. Mood, Adjutant General Lawrence E. Nobles, and is certified by WO Orville M. Harvey.

Cpl. Lawrence E Jerrell,  RA16254406, Infantry, United States Army. 
Cpl. Jerrell, while a squad leader in an infantry company, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy in the vicinity of Tang Wo-ni, Korea. 

On September 7, 1951, Cpl. Jerrell and his squad were part of a friendly force holding a strategic hill position. Although the hill was subjected to a devastating mortar and artillery barrage by the enemy, Cpl. Jerrell constantly exposed himself in order to move among his men, shouting words of encouragement and supervising the evacuation of the wounded. When the artillery barrage lifted, the hostile force launched a fanatical attack assault against the friendly troops. Because of Cpl. Jerrell's personal contact with his men, they met this attack with great self-assurance.

In the initial phase of this assault, Cpl. Jerrell shared a position with four of his men. The enemy immediately began hurling grenades in an effort to neutralize the deadly accurate fire pouring from the emplacement. With a total disregard for his personal safety, Cpl. Jerrell grabbed three of the grenades which had fallen into the position and threw them back of the enemy thus saving the lives of his comrades. At this point in the battle, a machine gun, brought forward to replace a weapon which had been disabled by enemy fire, fail to function. Realizing that this weapon was vitally necessary to repulse the repeated hostile attacks, Cpl. Jerrell rushed across the fire-swept terrain to the machine gun and put it back into operation.

When the order to withdraw was given, Cpl. Jerrell had been seriously wounded by a bursting shell.  Although he attempted to remain at the machine gun to cover the withdrawal of his comrades, the friendly troops placed him on a litter and proceeded to evacuate him. He died of his wounds before his men could reach the friendly positions.

The extraordinary heroism and self-sacrifice of Cpl. Jerrell reflect the greatest credit on himself and uphold the highest traditions of the military service.

Black History Tour May 25th --Don't forget!