Hulon Brocke Whittington

Posted on Mar 15, 2017

Born near Bogalusa, Louisiana, July 9, 1921, Sergeant Whittington earned the Medal of Honor in World War II while serving as Sergeant, 41st Armored Infantry, 2 Armored Division, near Grimesnil, France, July 29, 1944.

He later served as the model for “G.I. Joe: American Legion Soldier,” a thirteen-foot limestone statue located at 1608 K Street in Washington, D.C.

He died on January 17, 1969 and was buried in Section 8 of Arlington National Cemetery.

Biography

Whittington was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana on July 9, 1921. He attended school at Bastrop, Louisiana, and in New Orleans where he finished high school.

Whittington entered the service of his country on August 21, 1940 at Bastrop. In addition to his Medal of Honor, Whittington wears the Silver Star, Purple Heart with one oak-leaf cluster, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Good Conduct medal, the American Defense (pre-Pearl Harbor) ribbon, the American Theatre ribbon (serving as gunner on a ship) and the European Theatre of Operations ribbon with four battle stars.

Whittington joined the Army from Bastrop, Louisiana in August 1940, and by July 29, 1944 was serving as a Sergeant in the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Division. On that day, near Grimesnil, France, he assumed command of his platoon and led it in a successful defense against a German armored attack. For his actions during the battle, he was awarded the Medal of Honor nine months later, on April 23, 1945.

Whittington became a commissioned officer in 1949 and reached the rank of major in 1960. While serving in Vietnam as an ARVN ordnance advisor, he suffered a heart attack, forcing him to retire. He died at age 47 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia.

According a press release issued by Brook General and Convalescent Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, “When Sergeant, who claimed Ellaville, Georgia, as his home, was told he was to be presented the Congressional Medal of Honor, his quiet, unassuming, self-assured manner did not betray emotion. Perhaps it is these qualities in Sergeant Whittington’s make-up which so aptly guided him on the battlefield and aided him to carry out a mission in accord with the highest traditions of the army–Valor, above and beyond the call of duty.”

Whittington, who was wounded twice–once in Sicily and once in France–is but one of a few members left from his old organization and though Whittington is unable to join his comrades now carrying on with Lt. General William S. Simpson’s Ninth Army, he is certain that it is the indomitable determination of the men he fought with that is guiding them on to Berlin–and victory in the European Theatre.

Much like any other American soldier, Sergeant Whittington is straightforward, friendly, sentimental; and had it not been for wounds received in France, he still would have continued fighting alongside these comrades he had come to know and respect as he would his brothers.

Medal of Honor

Sergeant Hulon B. Whittington, Infantry, of Ellaville, Georgia, was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor in an impressive ceremony held Saturday, April 21st at 3 p.m., in the General Surgery ward of Brooke General and Convalescent Hospital where he was a patient.

The presentation of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award, was made to Sergeant Whittington by Major General J.P. Lucas, commanding general of the Fourth Army. General Lucas was designated by the War Department to act as the personal representative of the President for the presentation of that award.

Present for the ceremony was Sergeant Whittington’s father Henry B. Whittington of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Sergeant Whittington’s wife, Mrs. Pauline (Cook) Whittington was unable to attend the ceremony.

The citation which accompanied the Medal of Honor, read by Captain Robert S. Hawthorne, Adjutant, Brooke General and Convalescent Hospital, is as follows:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On the night of 29 July 1944, near Grimesnil, France, during an enemy armored attack, Sgt. Whittington, a squad leader, assumed command of his platoon when the platoon leader and platoon sergeant became missing in action. He reorganized the defense and, under fire, courageously crawled between gun positions to check the actions of his men. When the advancing enemy attempted to penetrate a roadblock, Sgt. Whittington, completely disregarding intense enemy action, mounted a tank and by shouting through the turret, directed it into position to fire pointblank at the leading Mark V German tank. The destruction of this vehicle blocked all movement of the remaining enemy column consisting of over 100 vehicles of a Panzer unit. The blocked vehicles were then destroyed by hand grenades, bazooka, tank, and artillery fire and large numbers of enemy personnel were wiped out by a bold and resolute bayonet charge inspired by Sgt. Whittington. When the medical aid man had become a casualty, Sgt. Whittington personally administered first aid to his wounded men. The dynamic leadership, the inspiring example, and the dauntless courage of Sgt. Whittington, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

Sgt. Whittington served as the model for “G.I. Joe: American Legion Soldier”, a thirteen foot tall limestone statue located at American Legion headquarters, 1608 K Street, Washington, D.C.