Rank and organization:   Corporal, U.S. Army, Company C, 157th Infantry,
45th Infantry Division.
Place and date:   Siegfried Line in Germany, 18 March
Entered service at:   Longmeadow, Mass.
Birth:   Burlington, Vt.
No.: 119, 17 December 1945.
Citation:   He spearheaded his unit's assault
of the Siegfried Line in Germany. Heavy fire from enemy riflemen and camouflaged
pillboxes had pinned down his comrades when he moved forward on his own
initiative to reconnoiter a route of advance. He cleared the way into an
area studded with pillboxes, where he repeatedly stood up and walked into
vicious enemy fire, storming 1 fortification after another with automatic
rifle fire and grenades, killing enemy troops, taking prisoners as the
enemy defense became confused, and encouraging his comrades by his heroic
example. When halted by heavy barbed wire entanglements, he secured bangalore
torpedoes and blasted a path toward still more pillboxes, all the time
braving bursting grenades and mortar shells and direct rifle and automatic-weapons
fire. He engaged in fierce fire fights, standing in the open while his
adversaries fought from the protection of concrete emplacements, and on
1 occasion pursued enemy soldiers across an open field and through interlocking
trenches, disregarding the crossfire from 2 pillboxes until he had penetrated
the formidable line 200 yards in advance of any American element. That
night, although terribly fatigued, he refused to rest and insisted on distributing
rations and supplies to his comrades. Hearing that a nearby company was
suffering heavy casualties, he secured permission to guide litter bearers
and assist them in evacuating the wounded. All that night he remained in
the battle area on his mercy missions, and for the following 2 days he
continued to remove casualties, venturing into enemy-held territory, scorning
cover and braving devastating mortar and artillery bombardments. In 3 days
he neutralized and captured 6 pillboxes single-handedly, killed at least
9 Germans, wounded 13, took 13 prisoners, aided in the capture of 14 others,
and saved many American lives by his fearless performance as a litter bearer.
Through his superb fighting skill, dauntless courage, and gallant, inspiring
actions, Cpl. Wilkin contributed in large measure to his company's success
in cracking the Siegfried Line. One month later he was killed in action
while fighting deep in Germany.
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)