Rank and organization:   Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company K, 9th
Infantry, 2d Infantry Division.
Place and date:   Near Rocherath, Belgium,
17 December 1944.
Entered service at:   West Haven, Conn.
Birth:   West Haven,
G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945.
Citation:   Armed with a bazooka, he
defended a key road junction near Rocherath, Belgium, on 17 December 1944,
during the German Ardennes counteroffensive. After a heavy artillery barrage
had wounded and forced the withdrawal of his assistant, he heard enemy
tanks approaching the position where he calmly waited in the gathering
darkness of early evening until the 5 Mark V tanks which made up the hostile
force were within pointblank range. He then stood up, completely disregarding
the firepower that could be brought to bear upon him, and launched a rocket
into the lead tank, setting it afire and forcing its crew to abandon it
as the other tanks pressed on before Pfc. Soderman could reload. The daring
bazookaman remained at his post all night under severe artillery, mortar,
and machinegun fire, awaiting the next onslaught, which was made shortly
after dawn by 5 more tanks Running along a ditch to meet them, he reached
an advantageous point and there leaped to the road in full view of the
tank gunners, deliberately aimed his weapon and disabled the lead tank.
The other vehicles, thwarted by a deep ditch in their attempt to go around
the crippled machine, withdrew. While returning to his post Pfc. Soderman,
braving heavy fire to attack an enemy infantry platoon from close range,
killed at least 3 Germans and wounded several others with a round from
his bazooka. By this time, enemy pressure had made Company K's position
untenable. Orders were issued for withdrawal to an assembly area, where
Pfc. Soderman was located when he once more heard enemy tanks approaching.
Knowing that elements of the company had not completed their disengaging
maneuver and were consequently extremely vulnerable to an armored attack,
he hurried from his comparatively safe position to meet the tanks. Once
more he disabled the lead tank with a single rocket, his last; but before
he could reach cover, machinegun bullets from the tank ripped into his
right shoulder. Unarmed and seriously wounded he dragged himself along
a ditch to the American lines and was evacuated. Through his unfaltering
courage against overwhelming odds, Pfc. Soderman contributed in great measure
to the defense of Rocherath, exhibiting to a superlative degree the intrepidity
and heroism with which American soldiers met and smashed the savage power
of the last great German offensive
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)