The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Master Sergeant (then Sfc.) U.S. Army,
Company A, 72d Tank Battalion. Place and date: Vicinity of Agok, Korea, 31 August
and 1 September 1950. Entered service at: Dwight, Nebr. Born: 23
November 1919, Dwight, Nebr. G.O. No.: 38, 4 June 1951.
M/Sgt. Kouma, a tank commander in Company A, distinguished himself by conspicuous
gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in
action against the enemy. His unit was engaged in supporting infantry elements on the
Naktong River front. Near midnight on 31 August, a hostile force estimated at 500 crossed
the river and launched a fierce attack against the infantry positions, inflicting heavy
casualties. A withdrawal was ordered and his armored unit was given the mission of
covering the movement until a secondary position could be established. The enemy assault
overran 2 tanks, destroyed 1 and forced another to withdraw. Suddenly M/Sgt. Kouma
discovered that his tank was the only obstacle in the path of the hostile onslaught.
Holding his ground, he gave fire orders to his crew and remained in position throughout
the night, fighting off repeated enemy attacks. During 1 fierce assault, the enemy
surrounded his tank and he leaped from the armored turret, exposing himself to a hail of
hostile fire, manned the .50 caliber machinegun mounted on the rear deck, and delivered
pointblank fire into the fanatical foe. His machinegun emptied, he fired his pistol and
threw grenades to keep the enemy from his tank. After more than 9 hours of constant combat
and close-in fighting, he withdrew his vehicle to friendly lines. During the withdrawal
through 8 miles of hostile territory, M/Sgt. Kouma continued to inflict casualties upon
the enemy and exhausted his ammunition in destroying 3 hostile machinegun positions.
During this action, M/Sgt. Kouma killed an estimated 250 enemy soldiers. His magnificent
stand allowed the infantry sufficient time to reestablish defensive positions. Rejoining
his company, although suffering intensely from his wounds, he attempted to resupply his
tank and return to the battle area. While being evacuated for medical treatment, his
courage was again displayed when he requested to return to the front. M/Sgt. Kouma's
superb leadership, heroism, and intense devotion to duty reflect the highest credit on
himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.