Given the fact I am also a Dirk J(my J as in Johannes, the Dutch equivalent of John) I could not resist doing a piece on this man.
Dirk John Vlug (August 20, 1916 – June 25, 1996) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.
Dirk Vlug joined the Army from Grand Rapids, Michigan in April 1941 and served as a private first class in the 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division.On December 15, 1944 near Limon in the Philippine province of Leyte, he single-handedly destroyed a group of five heavily armed Japanese tanks.
For his actions, Vlug was issued the Medal of Honor a year and a half later, on June 26, 1946.
He subsequently left the army and joined the Michigan National Guard in May 1949, and retired with the rank of Master Sergeant in January 1951.
He had been tasked with defending the American roadblock of the Ormac Road.
When an American roadblock on the Ormoc Road was attacked by a group of enemy tanks, Private First Class Vlug left his covered position, and with a rocket launcher and six rounds of ammunition, advanced alone under intense machine gun and 37-mm fire. Loading single-handedly, he destroyed the first tank, killing its occupants with a single round. As the crew of the second tank started to dismount and attack him, he killed one of the foe with his pistol, forcing the survivors to return to their vehicle, which he then destroyed with a second round. Three more hostile tanks moved up the road, so he flanked the first and eliminated it, and then, despite a hail of enemy fire, pressed forward again to destroy another. With his last round of ammunition he struck the remaining vehicle, causing it to crash down a steep embankment. Through his sustained heroism in the face of superior forces, Private First Class Vlug alone destroyed five enemy tanks and greatly facilitated successful accomplishment of his battalion’s mission.” He was awarded his Medal on June 26, 1946.
Dirk J. Vlug is welcomed home during parade in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
As proven so often before , one man can makes a difference, this is another example that should serve to inspire us to become better men and women.
This brave man died 20 years ago today. He was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery
Grand Rapids,Kent County.Michigan, USA Plot: Block X, Lot 203, Space 1.
Dirk J. Vlug, we salute you.