Rank and organization:   Pharmacist's Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy, serving
with 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division.
Place and date:   Iwo
Jima, Volcano Islands group, 3 March 1945.
Entered service at:   Utah.
8 August 1924, Ogden, Utah.
Citation:   For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity
at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving
with the 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during action
against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano group on 3 March
1945. Painfully wounded in the bitter action on 26 February, Wahlen remained
on the battlefield, advancing well forward of the frontlines to aid a wounded
marine and carrying him back to safety despite a terrific concentration
of fire. Tireless in his ministrations, he consistently disregarded all
danger to attend his fighting comrades as they fell under the devastating
rain of shrapnel and bullets, and rendered prompt assistance to various
elements of his combat group as required. When an adjacent platoon suffered
heavy casualties, he defied the continuous pounding of heavy mortars and
deadly fire of enemy rifles to care for the wounded, working rapidly in
an area swept by constant fire and treating 14 casualties before returning
to his own platoon. Wounded again on 2 March, he gallantly refused evacuation,
moving out with his company the following day in a furious assault across
600 yards of open terrain and repeatedly rendering medical aid while exposed
to the blasting fury of powerful Japanese guns. Stouthearted and indomitable,
he persevered in his determined efforts as his unit waged fierce battle
and, unable to walk after sustaining a third agonizing wound, resolutely
crawled 50 yards to administer first aid to still another fallen fighter.
By his dauntless fortitude and valor, Wahlen served as a constant inspiration
and contributed vitally to the high morale of his company during critical
phases of this strategically important engagement. His heroic spirit of
self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming enemy fire upheld the highest
traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
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)