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Ludovicus M. M. Van Iersel
Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1893-10-19)October 19, 1893
Died June 9, 1987(1987-06-09) (aged 93)
Place of birth Dussen, Netherlands
Place of death Sierra Madre, California
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch
Years of service
  • 1917 - 1919 (Army)
  • 1942 - 1945 (Marine Corps)
Rank Sergeant
Unit
Awards

Ludovicus Maria Matheus Van Iersel (19 October 1893 – 9 June 1987) was a Sergeant in United States Army, Company M, 9th Infantry, 2d Division during World War I. He earned the highest military decoration for valor in combat—the Medal of Honor—for having distinguished himself at Mouzon, France.

Born in Dussen the Netherlands, Van Iersel served on several merchant ships following the outbreak of the war. Van Iersel arrived in New Jersey in early 1917, enlisting in the army shortly afterwards. He learned English in his first few months of military service.

He became a naturalised American citizen in September 1919, six months after receiving the Medal of Honor, and changed his name to Louis Van Iersel. After acquiring citizenship he returned to his birth country and married with Hendrika de Ronde (1899-1979) in August 1920. They returned to the United States later that month and settled in California a year later.

During World War II, he joined the Marine Corps and served with the 3rd Marine Division in the Bougainville Campaign.

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

Citation:

While a member of the reconnaissance patrol, sent out at night to ascertain the condition of a damaged bridge, Sgt. Van Iersel volunteered to lead a party across the bridge in the face of heavy machinegun and rifle fire from a range of only 75 yards. Crawling alone along the debris of the ruined bridge he came upon a trap, which gave away and precipitated him into the water. In spite of the swift current he succeeded in swimming across the stream and found a lodging place among the timbers on the opposite bank. Disregarding the enemy fire, he made a careful investigation of the hostile position by which the bridge was defended and then returned to the other bank of the river, reporting this valuable information to the battalion commander.

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References[edit | edit source]

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