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Ernest E. West
Ernie West 2009.jpg
Medal of Honor recipient Ernest West in 2009
Birth name Ernest Edison West
Born (1931-09-02)September 2, 1931
Russell, Kentucky, U.S.
Died May 1, 2021(2021-05-01) (aged 89)
Greenup County, Kentucky, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1950 – 1953
Rank Private First Class
Unit 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Ernest Edison "Ernie" West (September 2, 1931 – May 1, 2021) was a United States Army soldier. He was a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart, for his actions in the Korean War.

Early life

West was born on September 2, 1931, in Russell, Kentucky. He was drafted from Wurtland in 1950.

Korean War and Medal of Honor

After his unit was ambushed near Sataeri on that day, he ran through heavy fire to rescue his wounded commander, Capt. George Gividen. As he was pulling the man to safety, three hostile soldiers attacked. West shielded the commander with his body and killed the attackers with his rifle, suffering a wound which resulted in the loss of his eye in the process.

Despite this injury, he remained on the field and assisted in the evacuation of other wounded men, at one point killing three more hostile soldiers. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor just over a year later, on January 29, 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.


West died on May 1, 2021 in Greenup County, Kentucky at the age of 89.

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