Foster Joseph Sayers MOH

b. 27/04/1924 Marsh Creek, Pennsylvania. d. 12/11/1944 near Thionville, France.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 12/11/1944 near Thionville, France.

Forest Sayers MOH

Foster Joseph Sayers was a Centre County native who was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry at the loss of his own life during World War II. The Medal of Honor is the highest honor given by the United States military for valor in combat.

Sayers was born in Marsh Creek and grew up near Howard. He joined the Army after high school and married before enlisting. Sayers was a private first class in the U.S. Army and a member of Company L, 357th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division.

During an attack on German forces entrenched on a hilltop near Thionville, France, on November 12, 1944, he ran up the hill and set up his machine gun a short distance from the enemy. In order to attract the attention of the German forces, Sayers picked up the gun and charged the troops, killing twelve with close fire.

His remarkable bravery allowed his fellow soldiers to attain their objective in reaching the crest of the hill while killing or capturing the German soldiers on it. Sayers, who was 20 years old, died in the fighting.

The Medal of Honor citation said that his “indomitable fighting spirit, aggressiveness, and supreme devotion to duty live on as an example of the highest traditions of the military service.” He also received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

The remains of Sayers were returned home in 1949, and he was given a military funeral at the Old Schenck’s Cemetery. The construction of Bald Eagle State Park forced the relocation of the cemetery to its current location on Lower Green Runs Road. The dam at the park, which opened in 1971, is named in honor of Sayers.

His family donated his Medal of Honor to the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, and in a 1995 ceremony Gov. Tom Ridge accepted the medal from the grandchildren of Sayers. It was the first Medal of Honor bestowed on a Pennsylvanian to be placed in the care of the state. The medal can be seen at the museum’s World War II exhibit.



He displayed conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in combat on 12 November 1944, near Thionville, France. During an attack on strong hostile forces entrenched on a hill he fearlessly ran up the steep approach toward his objective and set up his machine gun 20 yards from the enemy. Realizing it would be necessary to attract full attention of the dug-in Germans while his company crossed an open area and flanked the enemy, he picked up his gun, charged through withering machine-gun and rifle fire to the very edge of the emplacement, and there killed 12 German soldiers with devastating close-range fire. He took up a position behind a log and engaged the hostile infantry from the flank in an heroic attempt to distract their attention while his comrades attained their objective at the crest of the hill. He was killed by the very heavy concentration of return fire; but his fearless assault enabled his company to sweep the hill with a minimum of casualties, killing or capturing every enemy soldier on it. Pfc. Sayers’ indomitable fighting spirit, aggressiveness, and supreme devotion to duty live on as an example of the highest traditions of the military service.