Harold C. Agerholm

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Harold Christ Agerholm
PFCAgerholm USMC.jpg   A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
Harold C. Agerholm, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1925-01-29)January 29, 1925
Racine, Wisconsin
Died July 7, 1944(1944-07-07) (aged 19)
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 schools in the Racine Unified School District. After working for five months as a multigraph operator for the Rench Manufacturing Company (now Racine Industries, Inc), 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. Agerholm embarked for overseas duty on November 3, 1942 to New Zealand, where he trained with his battalion in Wellington for eleven months.[1]

In January 1943, Agerholm was promoted to private first class and appointed the battery store room keeper. He took part in the fighting on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, in November 1943. After the end of hostilities on Tarawa, Agerholm went with the 2nd Marine Division to the Hawaiian Islands, where they trained for the forthcoming invasion of Saipan.[1]

Agerholm landed on Saipan June 9, 1944, three days after the D-Day invasion in Europe. 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. 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 his actions on Saipan, Agerholm was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He also received 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 privately presented his Medal of Honor on June 25, 1945 by the Commandant of the Ninth Naval District, honoring her request — she "didn't want any public presentation."[1][2]

Initially buried in the 2nd Marine Division cemetery on Saipan, PFC Agerholm's remains were reinterred in Mound Cemetery in Racine in 1947.[3]

Awards and honors


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

Medal of Honor citation

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.[4]

Posthumous honors

On June 20, 1946 in Boston, Massachusetts, the destroyer USS Agerholm was commissioned and named in honor of PFC Agerholm.[1][5] The Agerholm was decommissioned in 1978.

A combined middle school and elementary school in Racine is named for Agerholm and Medal of Honer recipient Major John L. Jerstad (Jerstad-Agerholm Elementary/Middle School).[6] During the period when it administered the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Navy built a school on Navy Hill, Saipan, for its dependents and named it the HC Agerholm School.

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 also


  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Note: Original web ref at hqinet, accessed on March 19, 2006
  2. "Marine Hero's Mother Gets Medal of Honor". The Cumberland News. July 12, 1945. p. 1. Retrieved May 22, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> open access publication - free to read
  3. "Harold C. Agerholm". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved October 28, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "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 ["http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/PublishingImages/Biography%20Images/GO/mhc_agerholm.pdf" the original] Check |url= value (help) on January 3, 2007. Retrieved November 16, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Agerholm". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History & Heritage Command, Department of the Navy. Retrieved October 28, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Racine Medal of Honor Recipients". Racine Veterans Legacy Museum. Retrieved 7 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.