Dirk J. Vlug left behind a path of destruction in all probably not equaled by many others soldiers in World War II. Vlug did one of the most heroic exploits of the war but also as an amazing example of the efficient use of weapons under the most difficult circumstances.
Vlug was an U.S. American Hero who served in the Army in the Pacific Theatre. Vlug was joined the Army from Grand Rapids, Michigan in April 1941.
On December 15, 1944 was serving as a private first class in the 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. On that day, near Limon in the Philippine province of Leyte, Vlug single-handedly destroyed five enemy tanks. Through his sustained heroism in the face of superior forces. Pfc. Vlug greatly facilitated successful accomplishment of his battalion's mission. The facts as they happened as follow:
An American roadblock on the Ormoc Road was attacked by a group of enemy tanks. He left his covered position, and with a rocket launcher and 6 rounds of ammunition, advanced alone under intense machine gun and 37-mm. fire. Loading single-handedly, he destroyed the first tank (1st), killing its occupants with a single round. As the crew of the second tank started to dismount and attack him, he killed 1 of the foe with his pistol, forcing the survivors to return to their vehicle, which he then destroyed with a second round (2nd). Three more hostile tanks moved up the road, so he flanked the first and eliminated it (3th), and then, despite a hail of enemy fire, pressed forward again to destroy another (4th). With his last round of ammunition he struck the remaining vehicle (5th), causing it to crash down a steep embankment (CMOH Citation).
Personal photo taken by Dirk J. Vlug of destroyed Japanese tanks [Via en.wikipedia.org]
He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. For his actions, he was issued the Medal of Honor a year and a half later, on June 26, 1946.
Receiving congratulations from President Truman after being awarded the Medal of Honor [Via www.findagrave.com]
He subsequently left the army and joined the Michigan National Guard in May 1949, retiring with the rank of Master Sergeant in January 1951. Vlug died at age 79 and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- Born: August 20, 1916, Maple Lake, Minnesota, United States.
- Died: June 25, 1996, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- Received the Medal of Honor on June 26, 1946.