The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
NEPPEL, RALPH G.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company
M, 329th Infantry, 83d Infantry Division. Place and Date Birgel, Germany, 14
December 1944. Entered Service at: Glidden, lowa. Birth: Willey, lowa. G.O.
No.: 77, 10 September 1945.
Citation:He was leader of a machinegun squad defending an approach to the village of
Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen,
counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked
the foot soldiers beside the tank killing several of them. The enemy armor continued to
press forward and, at the pointblank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into
the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his
gun, had 1 leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and
the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position
on his elbows, remounted his gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen. Stripped of its
infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and
indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke
a determined counterattack.