The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announces that Wilburn K. Ross, Medal of Honor recipient, passed away Tuesday morning, May 9, 2017, in Washington State at the age of 94.
Wilburn K. Ross was born on May 12, 1922, grew up in the small town of Strunk, Kentucky. When he was 20 years old, he worked at the naval shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, but in the fall of 1942, his draft notice arrived.
Private Ross received the Medal of Honor for risking his life beyond the call of duty near St. Jacques, France, while serving with Company G, 350th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division, U.S. Army. On 30 October 1944, his company had lost 55 of 88 men in an attack on an entrenched, full-strength, elite German company. Ross placed his machine gun 10 yards ahead of his own company, absorbing the brunt of eight enemy assaults. Each time, he and his supporting riflemen were able to repel the enemy, and Ross held his forward position, despite the close explosion of rifle grenades and concentrated enemy fire. By the eighth assault, Ross fought on, virtually without assistance, because his supporting riflemen were out of ammunition.
Finally out of rounds himself, Ross declined to withdraw. When the enemy launched their ninth, and last, all-out attack, they converged their fire on Ross, who stood between them and a decisive breakthrough. Fresh ammunition brought to Ross just as the assault was about to swarm his position. He broke the assault, singlehandedly forcing the Germans to withdraw and saving the remnants of his company.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor by Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch III at Zepman Stadium, Nuremburg, Germany, on April 23, 1945. Ross remained in the Army for the next 20 years. He was badly wounded in Korea and retired as a Master Sergeant in 1964. Wilburn K. Ross is survived by his 6 children. Funeral services are pending. There are 73 recipients alive today.
About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by Congress in 1958 and consists exclusively of the living recipients of our nation’s highest award for bravery in combat, the Medal of Honor. Those who wear this light blue ribbon and Medal around their neck are “recipients” of this prestigious award; they are not “winners.” Although it is common to refer to the Medal as the Congressional Medal of Honor, it is simply named the Medal of Honor, although, as stated, the Congress did establish the Society as the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
SOURCE Congressional Medal of Honor Society