The Heckman-Isganitis-Messerschmidt Quakake American Legion Post 973 recently held a Medal of Honor Memorial Service to remember all veterans as well as the brave actions of Sergeant Harold O. Messerschmidt. Sgt. Messerschmidt, who was from Grier City, is currently buried in the White Church Cemetery in Barnesville.
Messerschmidt served in WWII with Company L, 30th Infantry, in the United States Army. His citation signed by President Harry Truman reads: "Sgt. Messerschmidt, on September 17, 1944 near Radden,
France, displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Braving machine gun, machine pistol and rifle fire, he moved fearlessly and calmly from man to man along his forty-yard squad front, encouraging each to hold against the overwhelming assault of a fanatical foe surging up the hillside. Knocked to the ground by a burst from an enemy automatic weapon, he immediately jumped to his feet, and ignoring his grave wounds, fired his sub-machine gun at the enemy that was now upon them, killing five and wounding many others before his ammunition was spent. Virtually surrounded by a frenzied foe and all of his squad now casualties, he elected to fight on alone, using his empty sub-machine gun as a bludgeon against his assailants. Spotting one of the enemy about to kill a wounded comrade, he felled the German with a blow of his weapon. Seeing friendly reinforcements running up the hill, he continued furiously to wield his empty gun against the foe in a new attack, and it was thus that he made the supreme sacrifice, fighting his way deep in hand-to-hand combat with superior enemy forces was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service."
In addition to being named after Messerschmidt, the Quakake Legion is also named after two other local veterans who died in service. The second veteran was Lt Elmer Heckman, from Quakake, who was killed in a flight training mission during WWII. The third veteran was Alexander Isganitis, from Still Creek, who was killed in North Africa during WWII.
A Medal of Honor Memorial was also newly erected inside the Quakake Legion as a permanent memorial to Sgt. Messerschmidt.
Quakake Legion Commander Carmen Forke pointed out his appreciation, stating that this service was the biggest turnout in years. Other Legion members taking part in the ceremony were OIC of Honor Guard Dale Kline, Sgt at Arms Floyd Herring, Chaplains Jim Shaup and Jim Greaser, and other members.