Francis S. Currey, who was one of the last three living World War II Medal of Honor recipients, has died at the age of 94.
He passed away Tuesday morning, according to his American legion post. The cause of his death has not been announced.
Sergeant Currey, of Selkirk, New York, enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 17 where he worked as a technical sergeant. Just one year later he’d become a hero for his courage in the famous Battle of the Bulge in Belgium.
He was given the Medal of Honor – the highest and most prestigious decoration of valor – for his valiant efforts in the Battle of the Bulge in Malmedy where on December 21, 1944 he rescued five Americans soldiers who were trapped in a building in the line of fire by German tanks. He was just 18 at the time.
Sergeant Francis Currey passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 94. He was one of the last three living WWII Medal of Honor Recipients
He enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 and a year later would be hailed a hero for his valor in WWII in Belgium. Pictured above wearing his Medal of Honor on July 27, 1945 at Camp Oklahoma City
Sgt. Currey used these weapons in his attack against German forces in 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. Pictured above on July 26, 1945
Currey, an automatic rifleman, and his company were guarding a bridge crossing near Malmedy when German forces launched an attack and started to fire at a building where American troops were trapped inside.
Currey exposed himself to gunfire and fired a bazooka, an anti-tank rocket launcher weapon, at a German tank. He then shot three Germans.
In the attack, the German forces had their tanks destroyed and suffered heavy infantry casualties forcing them to withdraw.
Then he ran to save the troops who were trapped inside a building and brought them to safety.
He was a sergeant with the Company K, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division, fighting in Belgium in the 3rd Platoon and was just 18 at the time.
‘Through his extensive knowledge of weapons and by his heroic and repeated braving of murderous enemy fire, Sgt. Currey was greatly responsible for inflicting heavy losses in men and material on the enemy, for rescuing 5 comrades, 2 of whom were wounded, and for stemming an attack which threatened to flank his battalion’s position,’ a description of his valor listed on the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website says.
Sgt. Currey’s bravery helped win the Battle that would pave the way for an Allied victory in the war, according to The Week.
American Legion Post 1040 announced his passing on Facebook on Tuesday writing: ‘Sad news our Posts highest decorated member congressional medal of honor recipient ￼Francis S Currey was called home to the lord, he passed￼ this morning’
Sergeant Currey, of Selkirk, New York, enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 17 where he worked as a technical sergeant. Pictured above in New York in May 2009
He was awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor for his valor in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium on December 21, 1944 where he rescued American troops from German fire and stopped the Nazi advance into the Western Front. He was just 18 at the time. Currey pictured above in 2009 at a Medal of Honor convention in Chicago
He was awarded the Silver Medal for his quick thinking and actions and later the Medal of Honor in 1945. After the war was over he was also awarded a Purple heart for being shot in Bavaria while disarming German soldiers.
He was New York state’s last WWII Medal of Honor recipient.
His Medal of Honor wasn’t just for his bravery and sacrifice, but for halting the advance of the enemy.
The Battle of the Bulge went down in history as the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during WWII. The battle stopped the advance of Axis powers into Western Europe and helped lead to an Allied victory.
In fact, his actions were credited with shortening the war by six weeks. If the Germans had made it across the bridge that day, they would have gained an advantage in the Western front.
In 1998, the first Medal of Honor G.I. Joe action figure was made in his likeness complete with a tiny Medal of Honor, miniature bazooka, an automatic rifle and grenades
‘My wife says it’s a pretty good likeness,’ Currey told a reporter back in 1998 when the doll was released. An ad for the Medal of Honor G.I. Joe action figure above
In 1998, the first Medal of Honor G.I. Joe action figure was made in his likeness complete with a tiny Medal of Honor, miniature bazooka, an automatic rifle and grenades.
‘My wife says it’s a pretty good likeness,’ Currey told a reporter back in 1998 when the doll was released, according to the Military.com.
American Legion Post 1040 announced his passing on Facebook on Tuesday writing: ‘Sad news our Posts highest decorated member congressional medal of honor recipient ￼Francis S Currey was called home to the lord, he passed￼ this morning.’
He was born on June 29, 1925 in Loch Sheldrake, New York and lived the rest of his life in Hurleyville, New York.
After serving in WWII he worked as a counselor at the VA Medical Center in Albany, New York from 1950 till his retirement in 1980. After retiring he ran a local landscaping business.
American patrol pictured walking near a smoldering German tank during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, which would go down in history as one of the most important battles of the war that paved the way to Allied victory
The Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was the last big German offensive campaign into the Western Front during World War II.
The fight stretched from December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945 in eastern Belgium, northeast France and Luxembourg.
In the battle Allied forces were able to block Nazi and Axis forces from advancing into Western Europe.
The Battle began with a surprise attack by German forces on Allied powers with 410,000 men and over 1,400 tanks, killing thousands of American troops.
After over a month of bloody fighting, Allied power claimed victory, delaying offensive plans for weeks and waiting on German forces to exhaust their resources. Most of the troops on the Allied side were American troops.
The Bulge was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the US in WWII and the second deadliest campaign in American history.