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Karnap, Bernard Emerson

Date of birth:
May 11th, 1922 (Ashland/Kentucky, United States)
Date of death:
October 26th, 1961 (Columbus/Georgia, United States)
Service number:
American (1776 - present, Republic)


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Second World War (1939-1945)
Staff Sergeant
Company A, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division "All American", U.S. Army
Awarded on:
February 1st, 1945
"For gallantry in action on 24 February 1944, near ****, Italy. Second Lieutenant Karnap, then Platoon Sergeant, Company A, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, while leading an eight man combat patrol, ran into an enemy machine gun nest. Having instructed his men to take cover, he alone crept forward to wipe out the machine gun position when an approximate twenty-man patrol was heard approaching. When the patrol approached his position, Second Lieutenant Karnap opened fire with his Thompson Submachine Gun killing or wounding approximately twelve men of the patrol and putting the rest to flight. After hurriedly reloading his weapon in a nearby outhouse in which he took temporary cover, Second Lieutenant Karnap dashed out into the open under enemy fire, secured valuable identification data from one of the enemy corpses, and tossed two hand grenades into the machine gun nest thereby rendering it ineffective. Then rejoining his men whose safety he had previously insured, Second Lieutenant Karnap led them safely back to his own lines under long distance small arms fire. His singular act of heroism was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army."

Headquarters, 82d Airborne Division, General Orders No. 18
Silver Star Medal (SSM)
Bernard E. Karnap (01703039), Second Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as a Platoon Leader with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, in action against the enemy on 6 to 7 April 1945, in Germany. Second Lieutenant Karnap assumed command of the company when the commander's boat was sunk while he was crossing the Rhine River to evacuate a beleaguered company. He organized the scattered groups and led them against the enemy positions with such superb courage and outstanding skill that the men of his command were greatly inspired. Second Lieutenant Karnap attacked with the forward elements and largely through his own Thompson sub-machine gun fire and forceful initiative eliminated six machine guns one by one. In the town, he killed seven of the enemy, helped destroy one tank and broke through a force of Germans to reach the survivors of a platoon who were isolated in a church. His magnificent bravery and aggressive tactics enabled the withdrawal by boat of the relieved personnel and his own men. He remained at the far shore fighting off all attacks until every man was safely away before crossing the river himself. Second Lieutenant Karnap personally killed at least twenty- five enemy troops, wounded many more, and accomplished this highly hazardous mission without loosing a man. The intrepidity, fortitude, initiative and loyalty demonstrated by this fearless officer in the performance of his duty reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.

Headquarters, XVI Corps, General Orders No. 60