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Above and Beyond


Nels Wold was born in the town of Winger in Polk County, Minnesota on December 24, 1895. This son of Norwegian immigrants would later move to Minnewaukan, North Dakota, and he ended up enlisting in the Army.

Wold was a private in Company I, 138thInfantry, 35thDivision and he saw action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during World War I. On this date in 1918, Wold’s platoon was stationed at the far left of the American line. Their mission was to capture the village of Cheppy, but the American advance was held up by German machine guns.

Wold’s platoon found themselves in heavy fog. They lost contact with the rest of the American troops. When the platoon came across some American scouts, the two groups joined up. They decided to move behind the German lines. They knew someone had to destroy the machine gun positions before the American advance could continue.

Their efforts were successful. They silenced several of the German guns. They also captured eleven prisoners. At one point, Wold saw a comrade in danger with a German officer about to shoot him. Wold shot the German and rescued his fellow soldier.

Wold also volunteered to attack another difficult enemy position. He crawled through the brush and took the enemy by surprise. He killed two and captured three. He went on to singlehandedly destroy three more enemy positions, but finally fell as he attacked a fifth. His comrades charged. They destroyed the enemy gun and retrieved Wold’s body.

The American advance was able to move forward because of the actions of Nels Wold. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his gallant service. His citation reads in part, “It was while attempting to rush a fifth machinegun nest that he was killed. The advance of his company was mainly due to his great courage and devotion to duty.”

Wold is one of twenty North Dakota soldiers to receive this honor. Nels Wold is buried at Elim Cemetery in his hometown of Winger, Minnesota.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Congressional Medal of Honor Society. "" Accessed 6/21/14.

Home of Heroes.
Accessed 6/21/14 .

U.S. Army Center of Military History. "" Accessed 6/21/14.