William Franklin “Frank” Lyell MOH

b. 14/02/1929 Lyles, Tennessee. d. 31/08/1951 Chupa-Ri, Korea.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 31/08/1951 Chupa-Ri, Korea.

William F Lyell MOH

Corporal William Franklin “Frank” Lyell was born February 14, 1928, in Lyles, Tennessee, and grew up in Goodlettsville. After high school, he went to work at the DuPont Chemical plant in Rayon City and was drafted into the U.S. Army on November 29, 1950. During the Korean War, he served in Company F, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. On August 31, 1951, Lyell distinguished himself during the Battle of the Punchbowl, the name given to Korea’s Haean Basin by United Nation forces. The operation was broken into two offensives, the Battle of Bloody Ridge, and the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge. While attacking three enemy bunkers with grenades and rifle fire during the first phase, Lyell was mortally wounded. For his conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty, Lyell was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.

On January 7, 1953, his Medal was posthumously presented by the Secretary of the Army, Frank C. Pace at The Pentagon to his family.



Cpl. Lyell, a member of company F, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. When his platoon leader was killed, Cpl. Lyell assumed command and led his unit in an assault on strongly fortified enemy positions located on commanding terrain. When his platoon came under vicious, raking fire which halted the forward movement, Cpl. Lyell seized a 57-mm recoilless rifle and unhesitatingly moved ahead to a suitable firing position from which he delivered deadly accurate fire completely destroying an enemy bunker, killing its occuppants. He then returned to his platoon and was resuming the assault when the unit was again subjected to intense hostile fire from two other bunkers. Disregarding his personal safety, armed with grenades, he charged forward hurling grenades into one of the enemy emplacements, and although painfully wounded in this action he pressed on, destroying the bunker and killing six of the foe. He then continued his attack against a third enemy position, throwing grenades as he ran forward, annihilating four enemy soldiers. He then led his platoon to the north slope of the hill where positions were occupied from which effective fire was delivered against the enemy in support of friendly troops moving up. Fearlessly exposing himself to enemy fire, he continuously moved about, directing and encouraging his men until he was mortally wounded by enemy mortar fire. Cpl. Lyell’s extraordinary heroism, indomitable courage, and aggressive leadership reflect great credit on himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.