First Lt. Donald K. Schwab of Hooper, Neb., was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for going above and beyond the call of duty during World War II on Tuesday.
Schwab’s family accepted the award on his behalf at a White House ceremony. A separate ceremony will be held in Nebraska in May.
“Lieutenant Schwab’s story is one of incredible valor and remarkable bravery,” Senator Mike Johanns said.
“I’m pleased his courageous acts are being recognized through the highest award the military offers – the Medal of Honor, and I’m proud to call him a fellow Nebraskan. The heroism he displayed in the name of freedom is truly inspiring.”
In September 1944 near Lure, France, Lt. Schwab led his fellow soldiers through three charges into heavy enemy fire while trying to break a German stronghold.
During the third charge into German territory, Schwab made his way through heavy fire to a key enemy machine pistol nest that was causing heavy casualties among his men. Upon reaching the pistol nest, he captured the German gunner and dragged him back through heavy fire to friendly territory.
His actions broke a strong German position.
Schwab served in the Army until October 1945, receiving a number of awards for his service. After his service, he returned home to Hooper. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 86.
A total of 24 Army veterans were awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House on Tuesday.
The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor, awarded to individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty. Roughly 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded to date.
In 2002, Congress called for a review of Jewish-American or Hispanic-American veteran war records from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure anyone deserving the Medal of Honor was not denied to any soldier because of prejudice. During that review, records of soldiers not of Jewish or Hispanic decent were also found to meet the criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. Congress later amended the act to include these soldiers.