b. 26/06/1931 Poplar Bluff, Missouri. d. 07/09/1951 near Pyongyang, Korea.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 07/09/1951 near Pyongyang, Korea.
Korean War Medal of Honor Recipient. He served as a Private in Company I, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army. On September 7, 1951, his company came under attack from a superior hostile force at Pyongyang, Korea. From a forward position, Private Kanell delivered accurate fire into the ranks of the advancing assailants. When an enemy grenade was hurled into his emplacement, Private Kanell threw himself upon the grenade to protect his comrades. Seriously wounded, when another grenade was thrown into the emplacement, he used the last of his strength to roll toward the second grenade absorbing the blast again protecting his comrades. For conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
The Medal was presented to his father on March 26, 1952 at The Pentagon by the Secretary of the Army, Frank C. Pace.
Pvt. Kanell, a member of Company I, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. A numerically superior hostile force had launched a fanatical assault against friendly positions, supported by mortar and artillery fire, when Pvt. Kanell stood in his emplacement exposed to enemy observation and action and delivered accurate fire into the ranks of the assailants. An enemy grenade was hurled into his emplacement and Pvt. Kanell threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the blast with his body to protect two of his comrades from serious injury and possible death. A few seconds later another grenade was thrown into the emplacement and, although seriously wounded by the first missile, he summoned his waning strength to roll toward the second grenade and used his body as a shield to again protect his comrades. He was mortally wounded as a result of his heroic actions. His indomitable courage, sustained fortitude against overwhelming odds, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: FAIRDEALING CEMETERY, FAIRDEALING, MISSOURI.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST LOUIS, MISSOURI.