Published on December 22, 2012 by Amy
Charles George (August 23, 1932–November 30, 1952) was a U.S. Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat on November 30, 1952, during the Korean War. He was fatally wounded when he threw himself on a grenade to protect other soldiers in his company and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. One of the soldiers that Charles George pushed out of the way was Marion Santor.
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George was born in Cherokee, North Carolina and was a Cherokee Indian. He entered service at Whittier, North Carolina. At the time of George’s death in battle he held the rank of Private First Class in Company C of the 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. The action for which he received the Medal of Honor was near Songnae-dong, Korea.
The Medal of Honor was awarded on March 18, 1954. The citation read:
Pfc. George, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy on the night of November 30, 1952. He was a member of a raiding party committed to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain feature, the group was subjected to intense mortar and machine gun fire and suffered several casualties. Throughout the advance, he fought valiantly and, upon reaching the crest of the hill, leaped into the trenches and closed with the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. When friendly troops were ordered to move back upon completion of the assignment, he and 2 comrades remained to cover the withdrawal. While in the process of leaving the trenches a hostile soldier hurled a grenade into their midst. Pfc. George shouted a warning to 1 comrade, pushed the other soldier out of danger, and, with full knowledge of the consequences, unhesitatingly threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the full blast of the explosion. Although seriously wounded in this display of valor, he refrained from any outcry which would divulge the position of his companions. The 2 soldiers evacuated him to the forward aid station and shortly thereafter he succumbed to his wound. Pfc. George’s indomitable courage, consummate devotion to duty, and willing self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself and uphold the finest traditions of the military service.
The VA Medical Center in Asheville, North Carolina is named in honor of Charles George and thus is officially known as the Charles George VA Medical Center.
Several boys recovered George’s Purple Heart, Bronze Star and GCM in an antique shop. The owner donated the medals on the condition the boys find the family and return them, which they did.