Paul L. Bolden

Born on Hobbs Island in June 1922,. Paul Bolden entered the U.S. Army on 5 November, 1942 at Madison, Alabama.  On 23 December, 1944, in Company I, 120th Infantry Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division, in Petit-Coo, Belgium, S/SGT Bolden, covered by one other infantryman, voluntarily attacked a house held by the enemy.  He tossed two grenades through a window, kicked open the door and engaged 35 SS troopers.  He killed 20 with his Thompson sub-machinegun before he was wounded  and retired from the house.  When the remaining SS troops refused to surrender,  and despite his wounds, he re-entered the house and killed the remaining 15. S/SGT Bolden was awarded the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony and was discharged 16 July, 1945 as a Master Sergeant.  His other awards include a Silver Star, 3 Bronze Stars, and 2 Purple Hearts.   Paul L. Bolden died 21 May, 1979, in Huntsville, Al.  Following the War, he farmed in Madison County and worked on Redstone Arsenal.  He is buried at Owens Cross Roads, Alabama.

His Citation reads:

He voluntarily attacked a formidable enemy strong point in Petit-Coo, Belgium, on 23 December, 1944, when his company was pinned down by extremely heavy automatic and small-arms fire coming from a house 200 yards to the front. Mortar and tank artillery shells pounded the unit, when S/Sgt. Bolden and a comrade, on their own initiative, moved forward into a hail of bullets to eliminate the ever-increasing fire from the German position. Crawling ahead to close with what they knew was a powerfully armed, vastly superior force, the pair reached the house and took up assault positions, S/Sgt. Bolden under a window, his comrade across the street where he could deliver covering fire. In rapid succession, S/Sgt. Bolden hurled a fragmentation grenade and a white phosphorus grenade into the building; and then, fully realizing that he faced tremendous odds, rushed to the door, threw it open and fired into 35 SS troopers who were trying to reorganize themselves after the havoc wrought by the grenades. Twenty Germans died under fire of his submachinegun before he was struck in the shoulder, chest, and stomach by part of a burst which killed his comrade across the street. He withdrew from the house, waiting for the surviving Germans to come out and surrender. When none appeared in the doorway, he summoned his ebbing strength, overcame the extreme pain he suffered and boldly walked back into the house, firing as he went. He had killed the remaining 15 enemy soldiers when his ammunition ran out. S/Sgt. Bolden's heroic advance against great odds, his fearless assault, and his magnificent display of courage in reentering the building where he had been severely wounded cleared the path for his company and insured the success of its mission.