American Veteran Of Two World Wars Honored In California

Sergeant Louis Van Iersel who was a World War I and World War II veteran has had a US Postal Service office in Sierra Madre, California, named after him.

Generations of Van Iersel’s family recently attended the ceremony.

Van Iersel left the Netherlands to live in the US in 1917.  He had already exhibited courage before he reached America.

On the boat heading to the US, he witnessed another ship get torpedoed by a German ship. He rigged a boatswain’s chair and saved 27 people.

On the day he arrived in America, he registered for the draft and enlisted in the Army.

He learned to speak English while in the Army.  In 1918, he gathered information on the German troop movements, risking enemy fire to save 1,000 lives.  He earned a Medal of Honor for his bravery.

According to his grandson, John Louis Van Iersel, said that he felt that he did his job and didn’t deserve a medal.

After World War I, Van Iersel moved to Sierra Madre and raised a family.  When the US joined World War II, the Army wouldn’t accept him due to his age, so he enlisted in the Marines.

His grandson said that Van Iersel would have enlisted for the Korean War, but age finally caught up with him, reported.

John Louis Van Iersel thanked officials and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3208 at the ceremony for supporting his grandfather’s legacy.

Louis Van Iersel died at the age of 93.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE