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Charles Gene Abrell
Charles G. Abrell, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1931-08-12)August 12, 1931
Died June 10, 1951(1951-06-10) (aged 19)
Place of birth Terre Haute, Indiana
Place of death Hangnyong, Korea
Place of burial West Lawn Cemetery Farmersburg, Indiana
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1948 - 1951
Rank Corporal
Unit 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines
Battles/wars Korean War
-Battle of Inchon
-Battle of Seoul
-Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Charles Gene Abrell (August 12, 1931 – June 10, 1951) was a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps who served with Company E, 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, during the Korean War. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions and sacrifice of life on June 10, 1951 near Hangnyong, Korea while advancing his platoon against enemy fire. He hurled himself into an enemy bunker with a live grenade, killing the enemy gun crew and himself in the explosion.


Charles Abrell was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1931. He attended school in Las Vegas, Nevada, and then enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 17, 1948 at age 17.

Following recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, he was assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and also served aboard the USS Noble before going to Korea with the 1st Marine Division.

He was in combat at Inchon, Seoul, Wonsan, Chosin Reservoir, and Hanghum before the fatal assault on a hill near Hwachon for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Charles Abrell is buried in the West Lawn Cemetery in Farmersburg, Indiana.[1]

Awards and decorations

CPL Abrell's awards include:

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Letter of Commendation Ribbon with Medal Pendant and Combat “V” Presidential Unit Citation
Navy Occupation Service Medal with Europe Clasp Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars United Nations Service Medal

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following citation:[2]

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a fire team leader in Company E, in action against enemy aggressor forces. While advancing with his platoon in an attack against well-concealed and heavily fortified enemy hill positions, Cpl. Abrell voluntarily rushed forward through the assaulting squad which was pinned down by a hail of intense and accurate automatic-weapons fire from a hostile bunker situated on commanding ground. Although previously wounded by enemy hand grenade fragments, he proceeded to carry out a bold, single-handed attack against the bunker, exhorting his comrades to follow him. Sustaining 2 additional wounds as he stormed toward the emplacement, he resolutely pulled the pin from a grenade clutched in his hand and hurled himself bodily into the bunker with the live missile still in his grasp. Fatally wounded in the resulting explosion which killed the entire enemy guncrew within the stronghold, Cpl. Abrell, by his valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death, served to inspire all his comrades and contributed directly to the success of his platoon in attaining its objective. His superb courage and heroic initiative sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

signed Harry S. Truman

In memory

In 1982, the Indiana Historical Bureau placed a historical marker in northern Terre Haute commemorating Abrell; it is one of twelve markers in Vigo County.[3]

In June 2001, a life-sized bronze statue of Charles Abrell on the grounds of the Vigo County Courthouse, Indiana, was dedicated in honor of those who served in Korea.[4]

See also


  1. "Charles G. Abrell". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved 2006-07-29. 
  2. "CPL Charles G. Abrell", Marines Awarded the Medal of Honor
  3. [Charles Gene Abrell], Indiana Historical Bureau, n.d. Accessed 2012-03-14.
  4. "Korean War Memorial, Vigo County Courthouse". Bill Wolfe. Retrieved 2006-07-29. [dead link]


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