Private First Class Franklin Earl Sigler
(6 November 1924
– 20 January 1995
) was awarded the Medal of Honor
for his actions in the Iwo Jima campaign
— a one-man assault on a Japanese gun position which had been holding up the advance of his company for several days, and for annihilating the enemy gun crew with hand grenades
. Although painfully wounded during his attack, he directed the fire of his squad and personally carried three of his buddies who were wounded to safety behind the lines.
The nation's highest military decoration was presented to PFC Sigler during ceremonies at the White House.
President Harry S. Truman awarded the medal to him on Friday, 5 October 1945.
Franklin Earl Sigler was born in Montclair or Glen Ridge, New Jersey on 6 November 1924
. (Sources differ, but the towns are adjacent to one another.) The family later moved to Little Falls, New Jersey
, where he attended Little Falls High School
prior to his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps
on 23 March 1943
Completing his recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, Pvt Sigler was next transferred to the Guard Company, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Charleston, South Carolina in June 1943.
In April 1944, he joined Company F, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, and in July, he embarked aboard the for Hilo, Hawaii. Later, he sailed for Iwo Jima. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant actions on 14 March 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Private Sigler took command of his squad when his squad leader became a casualty and unhesitatingly lead them in a bold rush against an enemy gun position that had been holding up the advance of his company for several days.
Reaching the gun position first, he personally annihilated the gun crew with grenades. When more enemy troops began firing from tunnels and caves leading to the gun position, he, without consideration for his own safety, successfully scaled the rocks leading up to the position and single-handedly assaulted the Japanese, completely surprising them.
Although wounded, he refused to be evacuated, and crawling back to his squad, directed machine gun fire and rocket fire on the cave entrances. In the ensuing fight three of his men were wounded and Pvt Sigler, disregarding the pain from his wound and the heavy enemy fire, carried them to safety behind the lines. Returning to his squad he remained with his men directing their fire until ordered to retire and seek medical aid.
PFC Sigler was hospitalized at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He was discharged from the Marine Corps at the rank of private first class in June 1946 due to disability resulting from his wounds.
Sigler died on 20 January 1995. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Franklin Sigler's brother, PFC William C. Sigler (1921-1943), USMC, who was killed in a traffic accident in New Zealand whilst on R & R during World War II, is also interred in Arlington National Cemetery. The two brother's headstones are only a few yards apart.
Awards and decorations
Medal of Honor citation
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
PRIVATE FRANKLIN E. SIGLER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
- For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Twenty-sixth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands on 14 March 1945. Voluntarily taking command of his rifle squad when the leader became a casualty, Private Sigler fearlessly led a bold charge against an enemy gun installation which had held up the advance of his company for several days and, reaching the position in advance of the others, assailed the emplacement with hand grenades and personally annihilated the entire crew. As additional Japanese troops opened fire from concealed tunnels and caves above, he quickly scaled the rocks leading to the attacking guns, surprised the enemy with a furious one-man assault and, although severely wounded in the encounter, deliberately crawled back to his squad position where he steadfastly refused evacuation, persistently directing heavy machine-gun and rocket barrages on the Japanese cave entrances. Undaunted by the merciless rain of hostile fire during the intensified action, he gallantly disregarded his own painful wounds to aid casualties, carrying three wounded squad members to safety behind the lines and returning to continue the battle with renewed determination until ordered to retire for medical treatment. Stouthearted and indomitable in the face of extreme peril, Private Sigler, by his alert initiative, unfaltering leadership and daring tactics in a critical situation, effected the release of his besieged company from enemy fire and contributed essentially to its further advance against a savagely fighting enemy. His superb valor, resolute fortitude and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice throughout reflect the highest credit upon Private Sigler and the United States Naval Service.