Frankie Zoly Molnar
Frankie Zoly Molnar was a real hometown hero. He was not a famous athlete or a powerful political figure; instead, he was just an average guy, who cared about his fellow man. He was born to Paul Molnar and Margaret Puskas on February 14, 1943 in Logan County, West Virginia. Frankie's parents named him after his Uncle Zoltan Puskas, who was killed in the Black Forest of Germany during World War II. The courage of Uncle Zoltan Puskas was passed onto Frankie. His selfless character was molded while growing up with his big family in West Virginia, which included his seven siblings Margaret, Ann, Mary, Paul, John, Gaza and Yolanda. The family eventually would spread out across the nation in many different states, including California, Missouri, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas.
When Frankie grew older, he moved to Fresno, California, where he entered the United States Army. He served in Company B of the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, and during his time with his unit, he achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. Frankie showed leadership in the service by demonstrating that he put the interest of his men before himself. He knew that the unit as a whole was more important than his own life because he was just one man. He proved his commitment to his fellow soldiers' lives on May 20, 1967, when the enemy attacked his unit.
While serving as squad leader during combat operations in Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, the enemy's mortar fire attacked the squad's defensive perimeter. The attack was a prelude to the enormous night attack that followed. Staff Sergeant Frankie Zoly Molnar left the safety of his location to crawl to his squad to ready them for the attack. During his journey to the squad, he spotted the enemy closing in on them. Through his accurate aim, he was able to kill five enemy soldiers and force the rest to fall back. The enemy then attacked with grenades, rockets and automatic weapons, but Staff Sergeant Molnar was able to help his squad hold them off. Because they used much of their ammunition supply, Frankie left his safe position to secure additional ammunition. After returning with the additional ammunition, Frankie continued to help his squad fight the enemy, while providing medical care to the wounded. When Frankie tried to move a severely wounded soldier with the help of other men, the enemy threw a grenade into the group. Staff Sergeant Molnar was the first to see the grenade and without concern for his own life, he threw himself on the grenade, saving the lives of his fellow comrades.
Frankie was survived by his wife Sharon Kay of Canada and his one-month year old baby girl Michelle, whom he never saw. President Richard Nixon presented Mrs. Sharon Molnar, Frankie's Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest honor, for his "selflessness and inspirational leadership on the battlefield." West Virginia honored Frankie, along with two other West Virginians, who received the Medal of Honor, with an award at a special ceremony held at the West Virginia's Capitol Rotunda on February 14, 1994.
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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