The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*ESSEBAGGER, JOHN, JR.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S.
Army, Company A, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date:
Near Popsudong, Korea, 25 April 1951. Entered service at: Holland, Mich. Born:
29 October 1928, Holland, Mich. G.O. No.: 61, 24 April 1952.
Cpl. Essebagger, a member of Company A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and
outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy.
Committed to effect a delaying action to cover the 3d Battalion's withdrawal through
Company A, Cpl. Essebagger, a member of 1 of 2 squads maintaining defensive positions in
key terrain and defending the company's right flank, had participated in repulsing
numerous attacks. In a frenzied banzai charge the numerically superior enemy seriously
threatened the security of the planned route of withdrawal and isolation of the small
force. Badly shaken, the grossly outnumbered detachment started to fall back and Cpl.
Essebagger, realizing the impending danger, voluntarily remained to provide security for
the withdrawal. Gallantly maintaining a l-man stand, Cpl. Essebagger raked the menacing
hordes with crippling fire and, with the foe closing on the position, left the comparative
safety of his shelter and advanced in the face of overwhelming odds, firing his weapon and
hurling grenades to disconcert the enemy and afford time for displacement of friendly
elements to more tenable positions. Scorning the withering fire and bursting shells, Cpl.
Essebagger continued to move forward, inflicting destruction upon the fanatical foe until
he was mortally wounded. Cpl. Essebagger's intrepid action and supreme sacrifice exacted a
heavy toll in enemy dead and wounded, stemmed the onslaught, and enabled the retiring
squads to reach safety. His valorous conduct and devotion to duty reflected lasting glory
upon himself and was in keeping with the noblest traditions of the infantry and the U.S.