May 17, 1945 Congressional Medal of Honor Goes To Former Yelm High School Student

Nisqually Valley News

An infantry officer who killed a German major in a gun duel and killed or captured 50 other Nazis has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. He is 1st Lt. Victor L. Kandle, of Puyallup, but formerly of McKenna, who lost his life in France, about three months after winning the nation’s highest decoration for bravery.

Kandle distinguished himself last October 9th while leading a group of 16 riflemen and machine gunners in seizing a strong point near La Forge, France. The enemy position had held up a battalion advance for two days. Shortly after setting out in the fog, the force came upon a house from which the Germans were firing. Kandle boldly walked in and brought out two Germans. Then he took a small reconnaissance patrol and started into a woods(sic). Spotting an enemy sniper, he worked around behind him, fell on him and took him prisoner.

A little later on the road to the quarry, the group sighted a German major and two enlisted men. Kandle called to them to surrender but they flopped into a ditch and the major opened up with a machine pistol. While the pistol bullets splintered the trees around him, Kandle calmly opened fire with his rifle.

1st Lt. Kandle’s accuracy with the HI rifle beat the German fire power. The German had enough and he dashed headlong through the trees in an attempt to escape. Firing through the sights at a standing position, Lt. Kandle hit the German in the arm, and when he kept running two more shots stopped and killed him. The two enlisted men with the German major surrendered. The trio had been attempting to set up an advanced observation post.

Kandle’s outfit went on toward the quarry, capturing the outposts and cutting communication wires. Within 16 yards of the quarry Kandle was discovered by the Germans. He signaled his men to open fire and dashed into the fray, killing a machine gunner and an assistant while his men killed four and wounded two in another emplacement. Some Germans waved a white towel and surrendered. Others ran.

A large house, core of the enemy position, stood to the front of the quarry.  Realizing there was no chance of surprising the occupants; Kandle single handedly rushed the building, hitting the door in a flying leap.  By the time the others had come up, Kandle had 32 Germans shouting “kamerad.”

Lt. Kandle’s wife, formerly Marie Jane Lee, of Tacoma, will receive the award in a ceremony in California. She now lives in Redwood City, Cal., with their son, Terry and a short time later a second notice from the War Department brought the news of his death.

Mrs. Kandle, when informed that her son had received the highest American military award, said that he had written only briefly about the events which led to the high honor. He had told her, she said, that he probably would receive the Distinguished Service Cross. More information about Lt. Kandle’s exploits were received it the writings of Pfc. Mark Porter, also of Puyallup, who was acorrespondent for the Stars and Stripes.

Lt. Kandle’s wife, formerly Marie Jane Lee, of Tacoma, will receive the award in a ceremony in California. She now lives in Redwood City, Cal., with their son, Terry S.

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