Francis S. Currey, one of the last few living World War II veterans who received the Medal of Honor, died Tuesday morning at 94.
His death was announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday, Oct. 8 by the Delmar-based Nathaniel Adams Blanchard Post 1040 of the American Legion, which he had been involved in. The exact time, nature and location of his death have yet to be confirmed.
Currey, of Selkirk, was originally born in Loch Sheldrake, New York on June 29, 1925 and joined the U.S. Army when he was 17 where he eventually became a technical sergeant. According to the Digital Collections of the National WWII Museum, on Dec. 21, 1944, Currey risked his life when German infantrymen shot at his direction in Malmedy, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. He countered with a bazooka and anti-tank grenades, and rescued five fellow American soldiers who were trapped by German tank rounds. He was just 19 at the time.
He was a 75 year member of The American Legion, New York Post 1040.
He was an automatic rifleman with the 3rd Platoon defending a strong point near Malmedy, Belgium, on 21 December 1944, when the enemy launched a powerful attack. Overrunning tank destroyersand antitank guns located near the strong point, German tanks advanced to the 3rd Platoon's position, and, after prolonged fighting, forced the withdrawal of this group to a nearby factory. Sgt. Currey found a bazooka in the building and crossed the street to secure rockets meanwhile enduring intense fire from enemy tanks and hostile infantrymen who had taken up a position at a house a short distance away. In the face of small-arms, machinegun, and artillery fire, he, with a companion, knocked out a tank with 1 shot. Moving to another position, he observed 3 Germans in the doorway of an enemy-held house. He killed or wounded all 3 with his automatic rifle. He emerged from cover and advanced alone to within 50 yards of the house, intent on wrecking it with rockets. Covered by friendly fire, he stood erect, and fired a shot which knocked down half of 1 wall. While in this forward position, he observed 5 Americans who had been pinned down for hours by fire from the house and 3 tanks. Realizing that they could not escape until the enemy tank and infantry guns had been silenced, Sgt. Currey crossed the street to a vehicle, where he procured an armful of antitank grenades. These he launched while under heavy enemy fire, driving the tankmen from the vehicles into the house. He then climbed onto a half-track in full view of the Germans and fired a machinegun at the house. Once again changing his position, he manned another machine gun whose crew had been killed; under his covering fire the 5 soldiers were able to retire to safety. Deprived of tanks and with heavy infantry casualties, the enemy was forced to withdraw. Through his extensive knowledge of weapons and by his heroic and repeated braving of murderous enemy fire, Sgt. Currey was greatly responsible for inflicting heavy losses in men and material on the enemy, for rescuing 5 comrades, 2 of whom were wounded, and for stemming an attack which threatened to flank his battalion's position.
Currey worked as a counselor at the VA Medical Center in Albany, New York from 1950 until he retired as a supervisor, in 1980. After he retired from the VA, he started and ran a landscaping business. He also worked at a hotel booking conventions in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, until 2002.
Video from the Medal of Honor Book:
SOURCE THE AMERICAN LEGION