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North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends

Orville E. Bloch

Col Orville Bloch
Streeter, ND

Military Service

Highest Military Rank: Colonel
Branch of Service: Army
Company / Ship / Flight or equivalent: Company E, 338th Infantry, 85th Infantry Division
Conflicts Served: World War II and Korean War

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. First Lt. Bloch undertook the task of wiping out five enemy machine-gun nests that had held up the advance in that particular sector for one day. Gathering three volunteers from his platoon, the patrol snaked their way to a big rock, behind which a group of three buildings and five machine-gun nests were located. Leaving the three men behind the rock, he attacked the first machine-gun nest alone charging into furious automatic fire, kicking over the machine gun and capturing the machine-gun crew of five. Pulling the pin from a grenade, he held it ready in his hand and dashed into the face of withering automatic fire toward this second machine-gun nest located at the corner of an adjacent building 15 yards distant. When within 20 feet of the machine gun he hurled the grenade, wounding the machine gunner, the other two members of the crew fleeing into a door of the house. Calling one of his volunteer group to accompany him, they advanced to the opposite end of the house, there contacting a machine-gun crew of five running toward this house. First Lt. Bloch and his men opened fire on the enemy crew, forcing them to abandon this machine gun and ammunition and flee into the same house. Without a moment's hesitation, 1st Lt. Bloch, unassisted, rushed through the door into a hail of small-arms fire, firing his carbine from the hip, and captured the seven occupants, wounding three of them. First Lt. Bloch with his men then proceeded to a third house where they discovered an abandoned enemy machine gun and detected another enemy machine-gun nest at the next corner of the building. The crew of six spotted 1st Lt. Bloch the instant he saw them. Without a moment's hesitation he dashed toward them. The enemy fired pistols wildly in his direction and vanished through a door of the house, 1st Lt. Bloch following them through the door, firing his carbine from the hip, wounding two of the enemy and capturing six. Altogether 1st Lt. Bloch had single-handedly captured 19 prisoners, wounding six of them and eliminating a total of five enemy machine-gun nests. His gallant and heroic actions saved his company many casualties and permitted them to continue the attack with new inspiration and vigor.

Born on February 10, 1915 in Big Falls, Wisconsin, Bloch joined the Army from Streeter, North Dakota in February 1942.   He was awarded the Medal of Honor on February 10, 1945.

Bloch later served in the Korean War, and reached the rank of Colonel before retiring in 1970.  He died at age 68 and was buried in Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle, Washington.

Medals and Honors

Medal of Honor - September 2, 1944