Eli L. Whiteley

Eli L. Whiteley

Eli L. Whiteley

Captain Eli L. Whiteley was commissioned an Infantry Officer upon graduation from Officer Candidate School in February of 1943, class number 169-43. His first duty assignment was as IRTC Camp Wolters Training Recruits, The Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. | His subsequent duty assignments include: Platoon Leader, IRTC Camp Wolters, 3rd Infantry Division, Training Infantry Replacement Instructor, Texas A&M University. Captain Whiteley's awards and decorations include the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, and European Theater of Operations decorations. | While leading his platoon on 27 December 1944, in savage house-to-house fighting through the fortress town of Sigolsheim, France, First Lieutenant Whiteley attacked a building through a street swept by withering mortar and automatic weapons fire. He was hit and severely wounded in the arm and shoulder; but he charged into the house alone and killed its 2 defenders. Hurling smoke and fragmentation grenades before him, he reached the next house and stormed inside, killing two and capturing 11 of the enemy. He continued leading his platoon in the extremely dangerous task of clearing hostile troops from strong points along the street until he reached a building held by fanatical Nazi troops. Although suffering from wounds which had rendered his left arm useless, he advanced on this strongly defended house, and after blasting out a wall with bazooka fire, charged through a hail of bullets. Wedging his submachinegun under his uninjured arm, he rushed into the house through the hole torn by his rockets, killed five of the enemy and forced the remaining 12 to surrender. As First Lieutenant Whiteley emerged to continue his fearless attack, he was again hit and critically wounded. In agony and with 1 eye pierced by a shell fragment, he shouted for his men to follow him to the next house. He was determined to stay in the fighting, and remained at the head of his platoon until forcibly evacuated. By his disregard for personal safety, his aggressiveness while suffering from severe wounds, his determined leadership and superb courage, First Lieutenant Whiteley killed nine Germans, captured 23 more and spearheaded an attack which cracked the core of enemy resistance in a vital area.

More Information

  • Rank

    Captain

  • Graduated From

    Fort Benning, Georgia

  • Highest Award

    Medal of Honor

  • Year Inducted

    1971

  • Branch Of Service

    Infantry

  • HF ID #

    HF_00556

  • MH ID#

    MH_00015