Eli Whiteley wins the Medal of Honor in France
On this day in 1944, Eli Whiteley lost an eye but won the Medal of Honor for his bravery and leadership during combat in France. Whiteley, a first lieutenant, was leading his infantry platoon in house-to-house fighting near Sigolsheim, France. Despite severe wounds to his arm and shoulder, he singlehandedly killed nine German soldiers and captured twenty-three. Even after a shell fragment pierced one eye, he continued to lead his men until forcibly evacuated. For his courage, determination, and leadership he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Whiteley was born in 1913 at Georgetown, Texas. He received a B.S. in agronomy from Texas A&M University and briefly attended North Carolina State University before being drafted in 1942. After the war he returned to North Carolina State, where he earned a master's degree in 1948. Returning to Texas A&M, he earned a doctorate in soil physics. He died in College Station in 1986. The Eli Whiteley Memorial Medal of Honor Park on the Texas A&M campus honors his memory.