» Croatian Heroes » Louis Cukela recipient of USA Navy and Army Medals of Honor during WWI
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» History » Louis Cukela recipient of USA Navy and Army Medals of Honor during WWI
Louis Cukela recipient of USA Navy and Army Medals of Honor during WWI
Holder of French decorations Medaille Militaire, Legion d'Honneur, the Croix de Guerre with two palms
Louis Cukela, born in Split Croatia, 1888-1956
From Croatians in America - Photo Collection by Vladimir Novak
Above General John J. Pershing decorating 2nd Lt. Louis Cukela (Vjekoslav Lujo Cukela), who was awarded both the Navy and Army Medals of Honor for extraordinary heroism in France 1918 during World War I. He was the only living man to hold two such decorations for extreme bravery in a single war.
Cukela was born on May 1, 1888 in Split, Croatia, son of George (Đuro) from the village of Koljane (near Vrlika) and mother Johana (Ivanica Bubrić).
In 1913 Cukela emigratted to the United States and he and his brother setttled in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On September 21, 1914 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and later in 1917 he enlisted in the Marine Corps. With war raging in Europe, he went to France and took part in all the engagements in which the Fifth marines fought.
In addition to the two Medals of Honor, Cukela was awarded the Silver Star by the Army; the Medaille Militaire (he was the first Marine officer ever to receive this medal), the Legion d'Honneur, the Croix de Guerre with two palms, another Croix with Silver Star by France and several other medals by Italy and U.S.A. In 1940 he was promoted to the rank of Major.
Major Cukela died in 1956 and he was buried with military honors in Arlington Cemetery in March 22, 1956.
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