ELI LAMAR WHITELEY (1913 ~ 1986). Medal of Honor recipient Eli L. Whiteley was born on December 10, 1913, and grew up on his family's farm near Georgetown, Texas. He graduated from high school in 1932 and received a Bachelor of Science in agronomy from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M University) in 1941. Whiteley was six months into his Master's Degree at North Carolina State University when he was drafted into the Army in 1942.
Whiteley was a First Lieutenant with Company L, Fifteenth Infantry, Third Infantry Division when he arrived in France. On December 27, 1944, Whiteley led his platoon in house to house fighting in the town of Sigolsheim, France. Advancing on a building through mortar and small arms fire, Whiteley was severly wounded in the arm and shoulder. He continued his attack and captured 11 enemy soldiers in a building after killing two. Whiteley led the house to house advance until he came upon a well-defended building. Although his left arm was useless, he destroyed one of the building's walls with a bazooka and charged into the building regardless of enemy fire.
With a submachine gun under his wounded arm, Whiteley killed five enemy soldiers and captured an additional 12. He was wounded in the eye by an exploding shell fragment as he left the house, but continued his advance. Despite his injuries, Whiteley led an attack which struck a serious blow to enemy resistance in the area. For his leadership and courage, Whiteley was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
He returned to North Carolina State after the War, completing his degree in 1948. In 1949, he married Anna Morris of Laurenburg, North Carolina; they had two sons and three daughters. Whiteley returned to Texas A&M University, where he received a doctorate in soil physics.
He taught at Texas A&M while researching plants, including important work with the kenaf plant, and soil management. Whiteley was eventually named a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
He died on December 2, 1986, in College Station and is buried in College Station City Cemetery. Texas A&M named the Eli Whiteley Memorial Medal of Honor Park on its grounds in his honor.
Bibliography: Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/WW/fwhkr.html, "Whitely, Eli L." "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas.