Rank and organization:   Private First Class, U.S. Army, 18th Infantry,
1st Infantry Division.
Place and date:   Near Sars la Bruyere, Belgium, 45
Entered service at:   Peckville, Pa.
Birth:   Scranton, Pa.
G.O. No.: 64, 4 August 1945.
Citation:   He was serving as a machine gunner
in the vicinity of Sars la Bruyere, Belgium, on the night of 45 September
1944, when his company was attacked by a superior German force Its position
was overrun and he was surrounded when our troops were driven back by overwhelming
numbers and firepower. Disregarding the fury of the enemy fire concentrated
on him he maintained his position, covering the withdrawal of our riflemen
and breaking the force of the enemy pressure. His assistant machine gunner
was killed and the position captured; the other 8 members of the section
were forced to surrender. Pfc. Merli slumped down beside the dead assistant
gunner and feigned death. No sooner had the enemy group withdrawn then
he was up and firing in all directions. Once more his position was taken
and the captors found 2 apparently lifeless bodies. Throughout the night
Pfc. Merli stayed at his weapon. By daybreak the enemy had suffered heavy
losses, and as our troops launched an assault, asked for a truce. Our negotiating
party, who accepted the German surrender, found Pfc. Merli still at his
gun. On the battlefield lay 52 enemy dead, 19 of whom were directly in
front of the gun. Pfc. Merli's gallantry and courage, and the losses and
confusion that he caused the enemy, contributed materially to our victory
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)