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Harold Christ Agerholm
Harold C. Agerholm, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1925-01-29)January 29, 1925
Died July 7, 1944(1944-07-07) (aged 19)
Place of birth Racine, Wisconsin
Place of death KIA - Saipan, Marianas Islands
Place of burial Mound Cemetery, Racine, Wisconsin
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1942–1944
Rank Private First Class
Unit 4th Battalion, 10th Marines
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Tarawa
*Battle of Saipan
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Private First Class Harold Christ Agerholm, USMCR (January 29, 1925 – July 7, 1944) served as a Marine during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while engaged with Japanese forces on Saipan in the Marianas Islands.


Agerholm was born January 29, 1925 in Racine, Wisconsin and attended the Racine public schools. After working for five months as a multigaph operator for the Rench Manufacturing Company, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve on July 16, 1942.[1]

Agerholm received his recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. Upon completion of his training he was assigned to Headquarters and Service Battery, 4th Battalion, 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. He embarked for overseas duty on November 3, 1942 and went to New Zealand, where he trained with his battalion in Wellington for eleven months.[1]

He was promoted to private first class in January 1943, and became the battery store room keeper. He took part in the fighting on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, in November 1943. From Tarawa he went to the Hawaiian Islands with the 2nd Marine Division where they trained for their forthcoming operation on Saipan.[1]

Agerholm landed on Saipan three days after D-Day. With the battle for the island raging for three weeks, the enemy launched a vigorous counter-attack on July 7, 1944 and a neighboring battalion was overrun. PFC Agerholm volunteered to help evacuate casualties. For nearly three hours, he single-handedly evacuated 45 casualties while under intense rifle and mortar fire before being mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper. For this action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal (posthumously), the Presidential Unit Citation, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars and the World War II Victory Medal.[1]

Agerholm's mother was presented his Medal of Honor on June 25, 1945 by the Commandant of the Ninth Naval District, because of her request — she "didn't want any public presentation."[1]

Initially buried in the 2nd Marine Division cemetery on Saipan, PFC Agerholm's remains were reinterred in Mound Cemetery, Racine, Wisconsin, in 1947.[2]

Awards and honorsEdit


A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars Purple Heart BAR.svg
US Navy Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.png
Bronze star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
Medal of Honor Purple Heart
Presidential Unit Citation Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars World War II Victory Medal

Medal of Honor citationEdit

His Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 4th Battalion, 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan, Marianas Islands, July 7, 1944. When the enemy launched a fierce, determined counterattack against our positions and overran a neighboring artillery battalion, PFC Agerholm immediately volunteered to assist in the efforts to check the hostile attack and evacuate our wounded. Locating and appropriating an abandoned ambulance jeep, he repeatedly made extremely perilous trips under heavy rifle and mortar fire and single-handedly loaded and evacuated approximately forty-five casualties, working tirelessly and with utter disregard for his own safety during a grueling period of more than three hours. Despite intense, persistent enemy fire, he ran out to aid two men whom he believed to be wounded Marines but was himself mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper while carrying out his hazardous mission. PFC Agerholm's brilliant initiative, great personal valor and self-sacrificing efforts in the face of almost certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.[3]

Posthumous honorsEdit

On June 20, 1946 in Boston, Massachusetts, the new destroyer USS Agerholm was commissioned and named in honor of PFC Agerholm.[1][4]

A middle school and an elementary school in his home town of Racine, Wisconsin also bear his name (Jerstad-Agerholm). The Harold C. Agerholm Memorial Gun Park near the headquarters of the 10th Marine Regiment in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is named in his honor .

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Private First Class Harold C. Agerholm, USMCR". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved October 7, 2007.  Note: Original web ref at hqinet, accessed on March 19, 2006
  2. "Harold C. Agerholm". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved October 28, 2007. 
  3. "PFC Harold C. Agerholm, Medal of Honor, 1944, 4/10/2, Saipan (Medal of Honor citation)". Marines Awarded the Medal of Honor. United States Marine Corps. Archived from ["" the original] on January 3, 2007. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  4. "Agerholm". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History & Heritage Command, Department of the Navy. Retrieved October 28, 2007. 


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