Franklin Earl Sigler

Posted on Sep 1, 2016

Private First Class Franklin Earl Sigler won the Medal of Honor during the Iwo Jima campaign in 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 Private First Class Sigler during ceremonies at the White House. President Truman awarded the medal to him on Friday, October 5, 1945.

Franklin Earl Sigler was born at Montclair, New Jersey, November 6, 1924, the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Sigler. They later moved to Little Falls, New Jersey, where he attended Little Falls High School prior to his enlistment in the Marine Corps on March 23, 1943.

Completing his recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, Private First Class 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, 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, and in July he embarked aboard the USS Clay for Hilo, Hawaii. Later, he sailed for Iwo Jima where he won the Medal of Honor on March 14, 1945.

Private First Class Sigler, then a private, 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 alone assaulted the Japanese completely surprising them.

Although painfully wounded in this one-man assault, 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 Private First Class 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.

Hospitalized in the U.S. Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, he was discharged with the rank of private first class in June, 1946 because of disability resulting from his wounds. PFC Sigler died January 20, 1995.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Private First Class Sigler was awarded the American Campaign Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; Purple Heart, and the World War II Victory Medal.