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Joseph Edward Schaefer
Birth: Dec. 27, 1918
Death: Mar. 16, 1987

World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. He received the award from US Army Major General Walter M. Robertson in Germany on August 22, 1945 for his actions as a staff sergeant in Company I, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, US Army on September 24, 1944 near Stolberg, Germany during World War II. Born in Queens, New York City, New York, he was drafted into the US Army in January 1942, following the US entry into World War II a month earlier. Assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, he was sent to North Africa in November 1942 and served in Sicily the following year. In November 1943 he was assigned to England to prepare for the invasion of Europe. His unit participated in the Invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 and slowly made its way to the heartland of Germany the following September. While his platoon was guarding a key crossroads near Stolberg, Germany, they were attacked by a larger enemy force. One of his fellow squads was captured, another had to withdraw. He was able to keep his squad in position, hold off the enemy's onslaught until they were relieved, and liberated the other squad who had been captured. The following year, he was promoted to the rank of technical sergeant and served in occupation duty in Germany. Following World War II, he remained in the US Army and served during the Korean War. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he received the Silver Star (with one oak leaf cluster), the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart (with two oak leaf clusters), the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. He died in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York City at the age of 68. His Medal of Honor citation reads: "The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Joseph Edward Schaefer, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company I, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Staff Sergeant Schaefer was in charge of a squad of the 2d Platoon in the vicinity of Stolberg, Germany, early in the morning of 24 September 1944, when 2 enemy companies supported by machineguns launched an attack to seize control of an important crossroads which was defended by his platoon. One American squad was forced back, another captured, leaving only SSG Schaefer's men to defend the position. To shift his squad into a house which would afford better protection, he crawled about under heavy small-arms and machinegun fire, instructed each individual, and moved to the building. A heavy concentration of enemy artillery fire scored hits on his strong point. S/Sgt. Schaefer assigned his men to positions and selected for himself the most dangerous one at the door. With his M1 rifle, he broke the first wave of infantry thrown toward the house. The Germans attacked again with grenades and flame throwers but were thrown back a second time, S/Sgt. Schaefer killing and wounding several. Regrouped for a final assault, the Germans approached from 2 directions. One force drove at the house from the front, while a second group advanced stealthily along a hedgerow. Recognizing the threat, S/Sgt. Schaefer fired rapidly at the enemy before him, killing or wounding all 6; then, with no cover whatever, dashed to the hedgerow and poured deadly accurate shots into the second group, killing 5, wounding 2 others, and forcing the enemy to withdraw. He scoured the area near his battered stronghold and captured 10 prisoners. By this time the rest of his company had begun a counterattack; he moved forward to assist another platoon to regain its position. Remaining in the lead, crawling and running in the face of heavy fire, he overtook the enemy, and liberated the American squad captured earlier in the battle. In all, single-handed and armed only with his rifle, he killed between 15 and 20 Germans, wounded at least as many more, and took 10 prisoners. S/Sgt. Schaefer's indomitable courage and his determination to hold his position at all costs were responsible for stopping an enemy break-through." (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Inscription:
SGT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II, KOREA
 
Burial:
Long Island National Cemetery
East Farmingdale
Suffolk County
New York, USA
Plot: DSS; Grave 80
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: May 04, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 9221
Joseph Edward Schaefer
Added by: Steven Hammond
 
Joseph Edward Schaefer
Added by: Steven Hammond
 
Joseph Edward Schaefer
Cemetery Photo
Added by: GLENN
 
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Thank you for your military service during World War II and for your courage and valor in time of battle. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Mar. 30, 2016

- bob tarte
 Added: Mar. 16, 2016

- sjm
 Added: Mar. 16, 2016
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