Illustration by Art Seiden

Jewish Heroes and Heroines in America

World War II to the Present:


Herbert P. Grossman: A World War II Hero of Leyte

by Seymour "Sy" Brody

Herbert P. Grossman was awarded the Silver Star By President Harry Truman, in 1945, for his heroism and complete disregard for his own life in fighting the enemy on Leyte, Philippine Islands, in World War II.

He is the son of the late Rose and Max Grossman and was born on June 10, 1917, in Plains, Pennsylvania. He was inducted into the Army on March 19, 1942, with his older brother, Abner. After his basic training, he was sent to the Pacific where he joined the Statue of Liberty Company, 307th Infantry, 77th Division.

In 1944, Grossman was a first scout and his unit and the Third Marine Division were in the initial invasion of Guam. After the island was secured his outfit was shipped to the Philippine Islands, where they encountered the enemy.

As they fought the Japanese, he and thirty other men were separated from their unit. Grossman realized that the machine gun men had to be protected. In defending these men, he bayonetted five attacking Japanese soldiers.

Once this area was cleared of the enemy, Grossman's outfit was sent to le Shima, an island near Okinawa. It was here that Grossman and a Japanese sniper fired upon each other. As Grossman shot the sniper, the sniper's bullet shot off the ring finger on Grossman's left hand.

Grossman received the Silver Star Medal and Purple Heart. He has the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations Ribbon with three bronze battle stars, Philippine Liberation Service Ribbon, Bronze Arrowhead and Good Conduct Ribbon. He was an Acting Sergeant when he was discharged on October 27, 1945.

His citation for the Silver Star Medal was by the direction of the President of the United States:

"Private First Class Herbert P. Grossman (Army serial number 23175861), Infantry, United States Army. For gallantry in action at Leyte, Philippine Islands, on December 20, 1944. As a heavy machine gun section was moving into a new firing position, it was subjected to intense enemy fire and was badly in need of fire protection. On his own initiative, Private Grossman rushed to the aid of the machine gun section and killed five of the assaulting Japanese, one of whom was in the act of hurling a grenade into the section. Later, while the gun was being moved a few yards to the right front, withering fire was encountered. With complete disregard for his life, Private Grossman charged the enemy position, shot one enemy soldier, bayonetted another and neutralized the enemy strong point. His display of courage and leadership were an inspiration to all who witnessed it."

Herbert P. Grossman died on July 22, 2006, and he will always be remembered for his bravery and service in defending our country.

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