BY DUANE ALLEN VACHON, PH.D. Charles Gene Abrell was born on August 12, 1931 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps just five days after his 17th birthday in 1948. Following recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, he was assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and also served aboard the USS Noble before going to Korea with the 1st Marine Division. He was in combat at Inchon, Seoul, Wonsan, Chosin Reservoir, and Hanghum before the fatal assault on a hill near Hwachon for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He went to war in 1950 when the 1st Marine Division was sent to Korea. By June 1951, Abrell was a veteran of the Inchon Landing and the Chosin Reservoir campaign.

On June 10 with the 2nd Battalion/1st Marine Regiment (“The Professionals”), Corporal Abrell charged forward through the point squad of his company which had been pinned down by vicious enemy fire. When his attack was upon an enemy bunker, there was only one way for him to destroy the enemy: he used himself as a missile. His sacrifice and courage was decorated with our Nation’s highest honor.

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a fire team leader in Company E, in action against enemy aggressor forces. While advancing with his platoon in an attack against well-concealed and heavily fortified enemy hill positions, Cpl. Abrell voluntarily rushed forward through the assaulting squad which was pinned down by a hail of intense and accurate automatic-weapons fire from a hostile bunker situated on commanding ground. Although previously wounded by enemy hand grenade fragments, he proceeded to carry out a bold, single-handed attack against the bunker, exhorting his comrades to follow him. Sustaining 2 additional wounds as he stormed toward the emplacement, he resolutely pulled the pin from a grenade clutched in his hand and hurled himself bodily into the bunker with the live missile still in his grasp. Fatally wounded in the resulting explosion which killed the entire enemy gun crew within the stronghold, Cpl. Abrell, by his valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death, served to inspire all his comrades and contributed directly to the success of his platoon in attaining its objective. His superb courage and heroic initiative sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

// Harry S. Truman//     President


The definition of patriotism is a love of your country and having willingness to sacrifice for it. Abrell contained the ultimate trait of patriotism. The combination of his early admittance in the Marine Corps and his readiness for self-sacrafice show us that he had all corners covered pertaining to the character trait patriotism. Abrell died a true hero on June 10th of 1951 at the age of nineteen. His actions were those of a man when he was still but a child, I applaud this corporal for what he sacrificed for our country. With his actions he earned the Medal of Honor posthumously


Corporal Abrell’s awards include:


Medal of Honor

Purple Heart

Letter of Commendation Ribbon with Medal Pendant and Combat “V”

Presidential Unit Citation

Navy Occupation Service Medal with Europe Clasp

Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars

United Nations Service Medal

Since the Civil War, more than 39 million men and women have answered the call to serve. Of those, 3,440 served with such uncommon valor and extraordinary courage that they were presented with the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. Terre Haute can be proud of their contribution to this list of Heros.

Charles Abrell is buried in the West Lawn Cemetery in Farmersburg, Indiana.

The information in this article was sourced from a variety of sources both internal and external. Every effort was made to ensure that the information is current and correct. These articles are presented to honor the heroes they are written about.


If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.


Author: Duane Vachon

Duane A. Vachon PhD has been a licensed clinical psychologist for over thirty years. He belongs to the order of Secular Franciscans and is a life member of the Guild of Pastoral Psychology. After living almost 40 years as an expatriate, he now writes from his home in Hawaii. He has several books published and has written hundreds of articles on social justice and spiritual issues. His Doctoral thesis on ethics has set the standard at many universities. Reach Dr. Vachon at


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