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WWII Medal of Honor recipient laid to rest in Riverside

Walt Ehlers, the last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor to storm Omaha Beach on D-Day was laid to rest in Riverside Saturday, March 8, 2014.

March 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor to storm Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion of World War II was laid to rest Saturday in Riverside. Walt Ehlers died Feb. 19 of kidney failure. He was 92 years old.

On Saturday, Ehlers was celebrated in a funeral at Riverside National Cemetery with full military honors, including a flyover.

The Kansas native joined the U.S. Army in October 1940 and took part in multiple combat operations, including the North Africa campaign and the landings in Italy in 1943.

According to his Medal of Honor citation, at age 23, Ehlers repeatedly led his men in charges exposing himself to deadly hostile fire. He showed heroic and courageous leadership.

In one action, Ehlers killed four enemy combatants, crawling underneath a machine gun nest and knocking it out of service by himself.

"Walter led his men from the front and his 12-man reconnaissance team onto the beach. They scaled the heights and passed through the breach in a German mine field and without a single casualty, which he was very proud of," the citation stated.

Six months later, during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, after taking over command of a platoon, Ehlers was shot in the right leg. He carried that bullet with him to his death.

CNS contributed to this report.

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