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Sgt. Joseph E. Schaefer
Joseph Edward Schaefer being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Photo contributed by Soorus (www.findagrave.com).

Schaefer Oval
Photo of the Sgt. Joseph E. Schaefer Memorial in Forest Park.
Courtesy of www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com

Joseph Schaefer Grave site
Joseph E. Schaefer is laid to rest at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Plot: DSS; Grave 6
Photo contributed by Don Morfe (www.findagrave.com).

Memories of Joseph Schaefer:

"...when he came home he was given a massive parade all along Jamaica Avenue and up 102 Street. I think he lived north of Jamaica Avenue on 102 Street. We lived on 102 Street just before Park Lane South.
He sat on the top seat of this large touring car and waved to everyone. He was our home town hero. My father knew Joe, living in the 1930 and 1940s in Richmond Hill you knew every one for blocks around..." –Ken Snyder

"...he used to bartend at My Place Your Place on 110 Street and Jamaica Avenue...I met him a few times, great guy..."–Bill Heaney


 

About Sgt. Joseph E. Schaefer, the most highly-decorated soldier from Richmond Hill

Born - December 27, 1918
Died - March 16, 1987

"Richmond Hill Hero"

The following information is excerpted from:

Joseph E. Schaefer was a resident of Richmond Hill for over 40 years, who distinguished himself in World War II for having repelled, almost single-handedly, a Nazi attack on American troops positioned near Stolberg, Germany. Schaefer, who served as Staff Sergeant to Company I, 18th Infantry, United States Army, received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945 for his defensive actions.

SGT. JOSEPH E. SCHAEFER OVAL

The Schaefer Oval was dedicated on March 24, 1987, shortly after Sgt. Schaefer passed away. Landscape Architect Signe Neilsen designed the octagonal granite outcropping that features inscriptions commemorating Schaefer's service and a representation of the Medal of Honor, as well as the plantings in the oval. Location: Forest Park at Park Lane South and Myrtle Avenue in Richmond Hill. Description: Octagonal planter. Materials: Granite.

The eight inscriptions commemorating Schaefer's service are:

  1. SGT. JOSEPH E. SCHAEFER MEDAL OF HONOR
  2. SGT. JOSEPH E. SCHAEFER COMPANY I 18TH INFANTRY FIRST INFANTRY DIVISION UNITED STATES ARMY ['1' in shield]
  3. AWARDED CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR IN 1944
  4. DEFENDED AMERICAN POSITION AT STOLBERG, GERMANY 24, SEPTEMBER 1944
  5. WORLD WAR II - KOREA 1941-1945—1950-1951
  6. RESIDENT OF RICHMOND HILL FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS
  7. SGT. SCHAEFER'S INDOMITABLE COURAGE AND HIS DETERMINATION WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR STOPPING AN ENEMY BREAKTHROUGH—PRESIDENT TRUMAN
  8. OTHER DECORATIONS - TWO SILVER STARS, BRONZE STAR, THREE PURPLE HEARTS, THE LEGION OF MERIT, FRENCH CROIX DE GUERRE

Citation: Awarded for actions during the World War II

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Joseph Edward Schaefer, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company I, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.

Staff Sergeant Schaefer was in charge of a squad of the 2d Platoon in the vicinity of Stolberg, Germany, early in the morning of 24 September 1944, when two enemy companies supported by machineguns launched an attack to seize control of an important crossroads which was defended by his platoon. One American squad was forced back, another captured, leaving only Staff Sergeant Schaefer's men to defend the position. To shift his squad into a house which would afford better protection, he crawled about under heavy small-arms and machinegun fire, instructed each individual, and moved to the building. A heavy concentration of enemy artillery fire scored hits on his strong point. Staff Sergeant Schaefer assigned his men to positions and selected for himself the most dangerous one at the door. With his M-1 rifle, he broke the first wave of infantry thrown toward the house. The Germans attacked again with grenades and flame throwers but were thrown back a second time, Staff Sergeant Schaefer killing and wounding several. Regrouped for a final assault, the Germans approached from two directions. One force drove at the house from the front, while a second group advanced stealthily along a hedgerow.

Recognizing the threat, Staff Sergeant Schaefer fired rapidly at the enemy before him, killing or wounding all six; then, with no cover whatever, dashed to the hedgerow and poured deadly accurate shots into the second group, killing five, wounding two others, and forcing the enemy to withdraw. He scoured the area near his battered stronghold and captured ten prisoners. By this time the rest of his company had begun a counterattack; he moved forward to assist another platoon to regain its position. Remaining in the lead, crawling and running in the face of heavy fire, he overtook the enemy, and liberated the American squad captured earlier in the battle. In all, single-handed and armed only with his rifle, he killed between 15 and 20 Germans, wounded at least as many more, and took ten prisoners. Staff Sergeant Schaefer's indomitable courage and his determination to hold his position at all costs were responsible for stopping an enemy break-through.

General Orders:

  • War Department, General Orders No. 71, August 22, 1945
  • Action Date: 24-Sep-44
  • Service: Army
  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Company: Company I
  • Regiment: 18th Infantry Regiment
  • Division: 1st Infantry Division