Know Your Military

Medal of Honor Monday: Army Pfc. Floyd Lindstrom

Nov. 11, 2019 | BY Katie Lange

Not every soldier who enlisted in the fight against World War II tyranny was a young man. Army Pfc. Floyd Lindstrom was 30 when he joined. His bravery and passion for the cause was infectious, and that helped earn him the Medal of Honor. 

A man wearing an Army dress cap smiles for a photo.
Army Pfc. Floyd Lindstrom
Army Pfc. Floyd Lindstrom
Photo By: Army photo
VIRIN: 191107-A-ZZ999-933

Lindstrom was born on June 21, 1912, in Holdredge, Nebraska. His family eventually moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he was raised. He worked summers on a farm through much of his youth. As a young man, he supported his mother and sister by delivering fruit and produce between Colorado and California. 

In June 1942, the day after his 30th birthday, Lindstrom enlisted in the Army and was trained as a machine gunner. By early 1943, he was sent to join the North Africa Campaign, where he earned the Silver Star for saving the life of a fellow soldier. 

Several months later, Lindstrom and the rest of the Army's 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, found themselves in Italy. On Nov. 11, 1943, his platoon was supporting a rifle company that was attacking a hill near Mignano when the Germans counterattacked, forcing both groups to move into defensive positions. 

Lindstrom knew his small section was alone and outnumbered five to one, but he pushed on regardless, quickly ordering the few remaining men into position to open fire. The enemy opened up as well with grenades, machine-gun and pistol fire. 

Soldiers cover their ears as they prepare to fire a large 240 mm howitzer cannon.
Howitzer Blast
Army soldiers of Battery B, 697th Field Artillery Battalion, prepare to fire a 240 mm howitzer into German-held territory near Mignano, Italy, Jan. 30, 1944.
Photo By: National Archives photo
VIRIN: 191107-O-ZZ999-809

Lindstrom couldn't take the enemy out from where he was, so he picked up his own heavy machine gun and staggered 15 yards up an open rocky hillside to another position only 10 yards from the enemy's machine gun nest, despite the hail of small arms fire landing all around him. 

The enemies began firing back and forth, but Lindstrom quickly realized he couldn't hit most of the gunners because they were hidden behind a large rock. So he moved again, charging further uphill despite the constant stream of gunfire heading his way. Lindstrom shot and killed both German gunners, then dragged their machine gun down to his men, who turned its fire back on the enemy. 

Lindstrom wasn't done. He went back to where the enemy machine gunners had been positioned and grabbed two boxes of ammunition. He then returned to his men and continued to fire his own weapon. 

The effort put forth from his bravery broke up the German counterattack. For his fearlessness, he was recommended for the Medal of Honor. 

Unfortunately, he wouldn't live to see it. After the Mignano battle, Lindstrom was given the option of taking a safer assignment as a guard far from the front lines. He refused and chose to stay with his unit. 

A mannequin holding a World War II-era Army dress uniform is decorated with a Medal of Honor.
Mannequin Medal
An era uniform and Medal of Honor were presented at a ceremony that named a Colorado Springs, Colo., health clinic after World War II Army Pfc. Floyd Lindstrom.
Photo By: Shawn Fury, Air Force
VIRIN: 190211-F-ZZ999-335

Less than three months later, on Feb. 3, 1944, he was killed during a German counterattack at Anzio, Italy. Lindstrom was 31. His body was brought home and buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

On April 20, 1944, Lindstrom received the Medal of Honor posthumously. He also earned the Purple Heart and two Italian military crosses. 

Lindstrom has continued to be honored over the decades that have passed. In 2013, the community-based outpatient clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Colorado Springs was designated the PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic. In May 2018, a monument was unveiled in the city that honored Lindstrom and two other local Medal of Honor recipients, Jesse Funk and Gerald Young.

This article is part of a weekly series called "Medal of Honor Monday," in which we highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military's highest medal for valor.