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Medal of Honor: Remembering Marine Corps Pfc. Harold C. Agerholm’s Heroic Sacrifice



Medal of Honor Remembering Marine Corps Pfc. Harold C. Agerholm's Heroic Sacrifice

Marine Corps Pfc. Harold Christ Agerholm exemplified the mantra of helping comrades in need during the Battle of Saipan in World War II. His heroic actions on July 7, 1944, during a fierce enemy counterattack, led to his posthumous Medal of Honor award.

harold agerhorm

Agerholm was born on January 29, 1925, in Racine, Wisconsin, one of six children. After his father’s death when Harold was 8, his mother raised the family alone. Agerholm, known for his love of nature and animals, attended public schools and briefly worked as a multigraph operator before joining the Marine Corps Reserve in July 1942 at 17, with his mother’s consent.

Following basic training in San Diego, Agerholm was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. By November 1942, his unit was deployed to New Zealand for a year of training. In November 1943, Agerholm fought in the Battle of Tarawa and then prepared for the invasion of Saipan, landing on the island on the fourth day of fighting in June 1944.

The Battle of Saipan was grueling, lasting about three weeks. On July 7, during a massive Japanese counterattack known as a banzai charge, Agerholm volunteered to evacuate the wounded. Using an abandoned Jeep, he braved intense mortar and rifle fire for three hours, rescuing about 45 men.

Tragically, Agerholm was killed by a Japanese sniper while attempting to aid two men he believed were wounded Marines. His bravery and selflessness were recognized posthumously with the Medal of Honor, presented to his mother on June 25, 1945, in a private ceremony at her home.

Agerholm’s legacy endures. Initially buried in Saipan, his remains were later moved to Mound Cemetery in Racine. The Navy honored him by naming Camp Agerholm and the destroyer USS Agerholm after him. In Racine, Jerstad-Agerholm Elementary School commemorates both Agerholm and fellow Medal of Honor recipient Maj. John Jerstad. A duplicate of Agerholm’s Medal of Honor is displayed at the Racine Veterans Legacy Museum, ensuring his story of valor continues to inspire future generations.

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