Monday, January 29, 2007

TFH 1/29: First Sergeant Leonard A. Funk Jr., USA

Today's installment of TFH is from the record of Medal of Honor citations, and is a Pittsburgh-area individual to boot:
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 508th
Parachute Infantry, 82d Airborne Division. Place and date: Holzheim, Belgium, 29
January 1945. Entered service at: Wilkinsburg, Pa. Birth: Braddock Township, Pa.
G.O. No.: 75, 5 September 1945. Citation: He distinguished himself by gallant,
intrepid actions against the enemy. After advancing 15 miles in a driving
snowstorm, the American force prepared to attack through waist-deep drifts. The
company executive officer became a casualty, and 1st Sgt. Funk immediately
assumed his duties, forming headquarters soldiers into a combat unit for an
assault in the face of direct artillery shelling and harassing fire from the
right flank. Under his skillful and courageous leadership, this miscellaneous
group and the 3d Platoon attacked 15 houses, cleared them, and took 30 prisoners
without suffering a casualty. The fierce drive of Company C quickly overran
Holzheim, netting some 80 prisoners, who were placed under a 4-man guard, all
that could be spared, while the rest of the understrength unit went about
mopping up isolated points of resistance. An enemy patrol, by means of a ruse,
succeeded in capturing the guards and freeing the prisoners, and had begun
preparations to attack Company C from the rear when 1st Sgt. Funk walked around
the building and into their midst. He was ordered to surrender by a German
officer who pushed a machine pistol into his stomach. Although overwhelmingly
outnumbered and facing almost certain death, 1st Sgt. Funk, pretending to comply
with the order, began slowly to unsling his submachine gun from his shoulder and
then, with lightning motion, brought the muzzle into line and riddled the German
officer. He turned upon the other Germans, firing and shouting to the other
Americans to seize the enemy's weapons. In the ensuing fight 21 Germans were
killed, many wounded, and the remainder captured. 1st Sgt. Funk's bold action
and heroic disregard for his own safety were directly responsible for the
recapture of a vastly superior enemy force, which, if allowed to remain free,
could have taken the widespread units of Company C by surprise and endangered
the entire attack plan.

First Sergeant Leonard A. Funk: January 29, 1945 in the face of the enemies of freedom, was your finest hour!


  1. I met this man back in 1981 during the 82nds reunion... I was selected to do a demo parachute drop for these men... Being assigned to Co.C 1/508 I had no idea who was watching... After a high alt entanglement I landed turned in my gear and walked over to the bleachers where these combat vets were sitting including 1SGT Funk.. He asked me how old he was and shook my hands. I was 17 at the time. In this small group of men another vet who was a close friend of Funks and a fellow combat vet with Co. C took off a necklace and handed it to me and said I made 3 combat drops with this on and Im giving it to you to bring you good luck cause it looks like you need it... Later that night we were invited to theyre hotel rooms where there was lots of drinking, stories and first class acceptance of us younger paratroopers... 1SGT Funk took me by the arm alone and said that he was so proud to see a young man doing this kind of work... He also said to pay attention and as you get more rank take care of my men.. Treat all men with respect no matter theyre rank.... He was by far one of the nicest men I have had the pleasure of meeting.... By the way that neckless that was given to me is hanging on a treelimb on FT.Bragg... Where it should and always be....

    RIP 1SGT Funk




    Fury From The Sky...

  2. Hello,
    I am a close relative of Leonard Funk. I have heard from family members that his memorabilia and medals are on display somewhere in a room....I was wandering if anyone might know where this is...I would very much like to visit it...Thanks

  3. I first met "Lenny" Funk as a young girl, he was a close friend of my fathers. An unassuming, slight man one would never have guessed his greatness. I just wanted to add a small comment; Mr. Funk suffered life long pain from numerious pieces of schapnel he carried around from his injuries as a paratrooper in WWII. Just one more point of courage in a long list of bravery.



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