The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*VIALE, ROBERT M.
Rank and Organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army,
Company K, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division. Place and Date Manila, Luzon,
Philippine Islands, 5 February 1945. Entered Service at: Ukiah, Calif. Birth:
Bayside, Calif. G.O. No.: 92, 25 October 1945.
He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.
Forced by the enemy's detonation of prepared demolitions to shift the course of his
advance through the city, he led the 1st platoon toward a small bridge, where heavy fire
from 3 enemy pillboxes halted the unit. With 2 men he crossed the bridge behind screening
grenade smoke to attack the pillboxes. The first he knocked out himself while covered by
his men's protecting fire; the other 2 were silenced by 1 of his companions and a bazooka
team which he had called up. He suffered a painful wound in the right arm during the
action. After his entire platoon had joined him, he pushed ahead through mortar fire and
encircling flames. Blocked from the only escape route by an enemy machinegun placed at a
street corner, he entered a nearby building with his men to explore possible means of
reducing the emplacement. In 1 room he found civilians huddled together, in another, a
small window placed high in the wall and reached by a ladder. Because of the relative
positions of the window, ladder, and enemy emplacement, he decided that he, being
left-handed, could better hurl a grenade than 1 of his men who had made an unsuccessful
attempt. Grasping an armed grenade, he started up the ladder. His wounded right arm
weakened, and, as he tried to steady himself, the grenade fell to the floor. In the 5
seconds before the grenade would explode, he dropped down, recovered the grenade and
looked for a place to dispose of it safely. Finding no way to get rid of the grenade
without exposing his own men or the civilians to injury or death, he turned to the wall,
held it close to his body and bent over it as it exploded. 2d Lt. Viale died in a few
minutes, but his heroic act saved the lives of others.