Full Version: Friscan's Mourning a Great Loss....
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.

Evening Dogfaces,


This past June we of the Friscan community and the Blue and White Devils's lost a great member.


It is with great sadness that I inform everyone that we have lost, Medal of Honor Recipient Alton C. Knappenberger. He was known well as the "One Many Army."


Heres what the Society of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division has posted on Mr. Knappenberger.



Medal of Honor Recipient

Dec. 31, 1923 - June 9, 2008





Alton W. was born 31 December 1923 in Cooperstown, Lehigh County, PA and died 9 June 2008. He was the son of Frank J. Knappenberger (1887-1928) and grandson of Clinton W. Knappenberger (born 7 August 1857) of Lehigh County, PA. He descends from Johan Michael Knappenberger (original immigrant) through his son Johan Henrich (Henry) Knappenberger who fought in the Revolutionary War. Alton was a Private First Class with the US Army, 3rd Infantry Division fighting in Italy on 1 February 1944 when his acts of bravery lead to receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor.


From his obituary:

Won Medal of Honor for WW2 valor, but lived quiet post war life in Earl Township, PA.

Alton W. Kappenberger, who was born in Coopersburg, worked on a pig farm and received the nations highest military honor during WW2., died of natural causes Monday at Pottstown Mem. Hosp. He was 84.

Pfc. Kappenberger, an army draftee, was awarded the MOH for acting with "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in his first and only combat experiences after the Allied landing at Anzio, Italy, in 1944.

He picked up a Browning automatic rifle, ran alone to a knoll and held off a German attack for more than two hours near Cristina di Larina, 30 miles from Nazi held Rome, on Feb. 1, 1944. The field was littered with 60 German dead.

Kappie as he was called, was a member of C company, 30th Inf. Regiment, 3rd. Inf. Div. His general called him a one man army. He went home in Aug. 1944 amid wide acclaim and pitched war bonds.

Throughout the rest of his life he shunned publicity and seeked a return to obscurity he drove a truck, laid blacktop and ran back-hoes.. He lived in a trailer in the woods of Earl Township.

Internment will be in Arlington National Cemetery.



Knappenberger, Alton W.


Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, 1 February 1944. Entered service at: Spring Mount, Pa. Birth: Cooperstown, Pa. G.O. No.: 41, 26 May 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual conflict with the enemy, on 1 February 1944 near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy. When a heavy German counterattack was launched against his battalion, Pfc. Knappenberger crawled to an exposed knoll and went into position with his automatic rifle. An enemy machinegun 85 yards away opened fire, and bullets struck within 6 inches of him. Rising to a kneeling position, Pfc. Knappenberger opened fire on the hostile crew, knocked out the gun, killed 2 members of the crew, and wounded the third. While he fired at this hostile position, 2 Germans crawled to a point within 20 yards of the knoll and threw potato-masher grenades at him, but Pfc. Knappenberger killed them both with 1 burst from his automatic rifle. Later, a second machinegun opened fire upon his exposed position from a distance of 100 yards, and this weapon also was silenced by his well-aimed shots.


Shortly thereafter, an enemy 20mm. antiaircraft gun directed fire at him, and again Pfc. Knappenberger returned fire to wound 1 member of the hostile crew. Under tank and artillery shellfire, with shells bursting within 15 yards of him, he held his precarious position and fired at all enemy infantrymen armed with machine pistols and machineguns which he could locate. When his ammunition supply became exhausted, he crawled 15 yards forward through steady machinegun fire, removed rifle clips from the belt of a casualty, returned to his position and resumed firing to repel an assaulting German platoon armed with automatic weapons. Finally, his ammunition supply being completely exhausted, he rejoined his company. Pfc. Knappenberger's intrepid action disrupted the enemy attack for over 2 hours.




Here's to Alton, who so unselfishly put himself in harm's way to protect his buddies and keep the Germans at bay. And bless him for resuming an unassuming life, shunning the limelight. Sounds like one hell of a man.


God bless and RIP!