Harold A. Furlong(1895 – 1987) was a native of Pontiac, Michigan. He completed the mandatory officer training course while a student at the Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1917. He was then assigned to the 353rd ‘All Kansas’Infantry regiment, which was forming at Camp Funston, KS. Like his fellow 353rd officer and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient J. Hunter Wickersham, Harold Furlong should qualify as an honorary Kansan.
‘The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Harold Arthur Furlong, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 1 November 1918, while serving with Company M, 353d Infantry, 89th Division, in action at Bantheville, France. Immediately after the opening of the attack in the Bois-de-Bantheville, when his company was held up by severe machine gun fire from the front, which killed his company commander and several soldiers, 1st.Lieut. Furlong moved out in advance of the line with great courage and coolness,crossing an open space several hundred yards wide. Taking up a position behind the line of the machine guns, he closed in on them, one at a time, killing a number of the enemy with his rifle, putting 4 machine gun nests out of action,and driving 20 German prisoners into our lines.’
General Pershing presented the award to Furlong and sixteen others in a ceremony at Chaumont, France on February 9, 1919.
After the war Furlong graduated from the medical school at the University of Michigan in 1925 and practiced Obstetrics in his hometown until his retirement in 1970. He created and headed the Maternity Unit at the Pontiac General Hospital, which was named after him in 1982.
In an interview in 1959, Furlong downplayed his WW1 service: ″Personally, I’m just happy to be a doctor and would just as soon not be written up in the newspaper as a war hero″.
Furlong continued to serve with the Michigan National Guard until 1946, retiring as a Colonel.
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