Leonard C. Brostrom was born on November 23, 1919 in Preston, Franklin County, Idaho. He completed basic training at Fort Ord, California and was assigned to the 7th Motorized Division. Shortly after arriving at Camp San Luis Obispo, the Division began training in the Mojave Desert in preparation for its planned deployment to the African theater.
On January 1, 1943 his Motorized Division was renamed the 7th Infantry Division (light). Brostrum and the other soldiers began rigorous amphibious assault training under US Marines from the Fleet Marine Force, before being deployed to fight in the Pacific theater instead of Africa. Private Brostrum was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion of the 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division and participated in the retaking of the Aleutian Islands, Eastern Mandates and Leyte; all of which started with amphibious assaults.
Leyte, the third largest of the Philippine Islands was invaded by Brostrum and the rest of the 7th Division on October 20, 1944. Brostrum in Company F, 2nd Battalion of the 17th Regiment attacked from the center, driving down the Dulag–Burauen Road. Within 48 hours they had captured San Pablo, Burauen, and Bayug Airfield.
On October 27, 1944 the 17th took the strong points south of the town of Dagami. At 7:30 AM, Brostrum, "a lead scout" with Company F struck out on the left flank of the attack. Their job with the rest of the 2nd Battalion was to envelope Dagami from the American left to pin and destroy Japanese Army resistance in the town.
Brostrum with the lead assault platoon of Company F encountered withering fire from pillboxes, trenches, and enemy spider holes. The enemy were well entrenched and camouflaged. Enemy fields of fire were well calculated with criss-crossing machine gun bunkers supported by infantry in trenches. PFC Brostrum was hit by enemy weapon fire three times as he fought his way through a bamboo thicket that was part of the enemy line. Brostrum dashed to the rear of a large enemy machine gun bunker/pillbox. During his charge from the bamboo thicket he was visible not only to the rest of his company, but to the Japanese riflemen shooting at him as well. As he threw several grenades into the bunker, six Japanese infantrymen charged with bayonets fixed. Brostrum was able to kill one and wound others causing them to retreat. Brostrum was hit a fourth time and fell to the ground. Again, in view of the Americans and Japanese soldiers he rose to his feet and assaulted the bunker with grenades and rifle fire. The enemy ran out of the bunker as Brostrum fell seriously wounded.
Staff Sergeant Paul Doty and PFC's Howard J. Evans and Eldridge V. Sorenson, who had caught up with Brostrom by this time, killed many of the fleeing enemy and called for a medic. PFC Brostrum was carried to the aid station but succumbed to his wounds on October 28, 1944.
Medal of Honor citation
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 104 (November 15, 1945) Action Date: 28-Oct-44 Service: Army Rank: Private First Class Company: Company F Regiment: 17th Infantry Regiment Division: 7th Infantry Division
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Private First Class Leonard C. Brostrom, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action as a rifleman with an assault platoon of Company F, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, which ran into powerful resistance near Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands, on 28 October 1944. From pillboxes, trenches, and spider holes, so well camouflaged that they could be detected at no more than 20 yards, the enemy poured machinegun and rifle fire, causing severe casualties in the platoon. Realizing that a key pillbox in the center of the strong point would have to be knocked out if the company were to advance, Private First Class Brostrom, without orders and completely ignoring his own safety, ran forward to attack the pillbox with grenades. He immediately became the prime target for all the riflemen in the area, as he rushed to the rear of the pillbox and tossed grenades through the entrance. Six enemy soldiers left a trench in a bayonet charge against the heroic American, but he killed one and drove the others off with rifle fire. As he threw more grenades from his completely exposed position he was wounded several times in the abdomen and knocked to the ground. Although suffering intense pain and rapidly weakening from loss of blood, he slowly rose to his feet and once more hurled his deadly missiles at the pillbox. As he collapsed, the enemy began fleeing from the fortification and were killed by riflemen of his platoon. Private First Class Brostrom died while being carried from the battlefield, but his intrepidity and unhesitating willingness to sacrifice himself in a one-man attack against overwhelming odds enabled his company to reorganize against attack, and annihilate the entire enemy position.
C o p y r i g h t (C) 2 0 1 7 – H e a t h R o b i s o n / I d a h o H e r o e s . o r g