Medal of Honor Citation

Staff Sergeant William G. Windrich was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for outstanding heroism as a platoon sergeant in the Korean War.

Staff Sergeant Windrich was killed in action the morning of 2 December 1950, near Yudam-ni, North Korea, following a savage night battle. He had refused to be evacuated even after being wounded twice, once when a grenade fragment ripped through his helmet. Although later felled by another wound in the leg, he was not put out of action but was still directing his men in setting up defensive positions when he succumbed to his wounds and the bitter cold.

The Medal of Honor, the Nation’s highest award for valor in combat, was presented to his widow by Secretary of the Navy Daniel A. Kimball during ceremonies on 8 February 1952 in Washington, D.C.

Born 14 May 1921 in Chicago, Illinois, William Gordon Windrich attended public schools in Hammond, Indiana. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, 6 June 1938, and was ordered to active duty in November 1940. During World War II, he spent 20 months overseas in the South Pacific as a machine gunner and saw action on Tarawa. Discharged in November 1945, he reenlisted in the regular Marine Corps the following February.

In the summer of 1946, he participated in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll while serving aboard the USS Mount McKinley. During the years after World War II, he also served as a non-commissioned officer of the guard in Washington, D.C., at the Naval Gun Factory and at Marine Corps Headquarters, and in China.

At the outbreak of fighting in Korea. SSgt Windrich was on military police duty at Camp Pendleton, California. He went overseas with the 1st Marine Brigade and was among the first Marines to see action in Korea. He participated in the Inchon landing and in the capture of Seoul. It was during the Chosin Reservoir campaign, as the 1st Marine Division regrouped for its famous breakout to the sea, that he met his heroic death. His body was returned to the United States for burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, SSgt Windrich’s decorations include: the Purple Heart, two Presidential Unit Citations, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze star, the World War II Victory Medal, the China Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars, the United Nations Service Medal and two Korean Presidential Unit Citations.

Korean War 1950-1953 Medal of Honor

Marine Corps University