American Hero Dirk Vlug Single-Handedly Destroyed Five Japanese Tanks
Dirk Vlug joined the Army from Grand Rapids, Michigan in April 1941 and served as a private first class in the 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division.
On December 15, 1944 near Limon in the Philippine province of Leyte, he single-handedly destroyed a group of five heavily armed Japanese tanks.
For his actions, Vlug was issued the Medal of Honor a year and a half later, on June 26, 1946.
He subsequently left the army and joined the Michigan National Guard in May 1949, and retired with the rank of Master Sergeant in January 1951
Dirk Vlug’s Official Medal of Honor Citation States
"Dirk Vlug displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty when an American roadblock on the Ormoc Road was attacked by a group of enemy tanks. He left his covered position, and with a rocket launcher and six rounds of ammunition, advanced alone under intense machine gun and 37-mm. fire.
Loading single-handedly, he destroyed the first tank, killing its occupants with a single round. As the crew of the second tank started to dismount and attack him, he killed 1 of the foe with his pistol, forcing the survivors to return to their vehicle, which he then destroyed with a second round. Three more hostile tanks moved up the road, so he flanked the first and eliminated it, and then, despite a hail of enemy fire, pressed forward again to destroy another.
With his last round of ammunition he struck the remaining vehicle, causing it to crash down a steep embankment.
Through his sustained heroism in the face of superior forces, Pfc. Vlug alone destroyed five enemy tanks and greatly facilitated successful accomplishment of his battalion’s mission".
Born: August 20, 1916, Maple Lake, Minnesota, United States
Died: June 25, 1996, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Received the Medal of Honor on June 26, 1946