Frank Joseph Petrarca MOH

b. 31/07/1918 Cleveland, Ohio. d. 31/07/1943 New Georgia, Solomon Islands.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 27/07/1943 Horseshoe Hill, New Georgia, Solomon Islands.

Frank J Petrarca MOH

Frank was the son of Dominic and Bettina (Tondia) Petrarca. One of 10 children, Frank grew up in Cleveland, attending St. Marian’s parochial school and graduating from East High School in 1938. After working for his father as a carpenter, he joined the 145th Ohio National Guard Regiment in 1939.

On active duty with the Medical Detachment, 145th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, Pfc. Petrarca gave aid to 3 wounded solders in direct line of fire (July 27 1943) and rescued a wounded sergeant also in direct line of fire (July 29 1943). He was mortally wounded by enemy mortar fire while trying to rescue another wounded soldier under the same circumstances on his 25th birthday. The Medal of Honor was awarded to Petrarca’s parents in their home in Cleveland by Major General Charles L. Scott on December 23 1943, and his body was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland June 26 1948.

A number of local sites and organizations were named after him, including a classroom at St. Marian’s School, Petrarca Rd. in Cleveland, the Petrarca Ohio National Guard Armory in Brook Park, and the Petrarca Post, American Legion, organized in 1947.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Petrarca advanced with the leading troop element to within 100 yards of the enemy fortifications where mortar and small-arms fire caused a number of casualties. Singling out the most seriously wounded, he worked his way to the aid of Pfc. Scott, lying within 75 yards of the enemy, whose wounds were so serious that he could not even be moved out of the direct line of fire. Pfc. Petrarca fearlessly administered first aid to Pfc. Scott and two other soldiers and shielded the former until his death. On 29 July 1943, Pfc. Petrarca, during an intense mortar barrage, went to the aid of his sergeant who had been partly buried in a foxhole under the debris of a shell explosion, dug him out, restored him to consciousness, and caused his evacuation. On 31 July 1943 and against the warning of a fellow soldier, he went to the aid of a mortar fragment casualty where his path over the crest of a hill exposed him to enemy observation from only 20 yards distance. A target for intense knee mortar and automatic fire, he resolutely worked his way to within two yards of his objective where he was mortally wounded by hostile mortar fire. Even on the threshold of death he continued to display valor and contempt for the foe; raising himself to his knees, this intrepid soldier shouted defiance at the enemy, made a last attempt to reach his wounded comrade and fell in glorious death.



SECTION 110, LOT 2168, GRAVE 3.