Almost 70 years after his graduation from Puyallup High School, 1st Lt. Victor Leonard Kandle will be honored with a memorial installed on campus.
Kandle, a 1939 PHS graduate, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1945 for his heroic actions in France during World War II.
There’s no memorial of him in the city, according to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2224 member Jack Taylor.
“We in the VFW would wish to correct this oversight with a donation of a monument to honor his memory and serve as a lasting symbol of his extraordinary sacrifice,” Taylor said.
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Born in Roy in 1921, Kandle grew up on land that is now part of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. After graduating from PHS, Kandle joined the army in 1940 and completed basic training at Fort Lewis. He then was assigned to the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, which earned 16 Medals of Honor during WWII.
On October 9, 1944, Kandle engaged in combat with German soldiers in France, fighting his way into enemy territory and forcing them to surrender.
“His intrepidity and bold leadership resulted in the capture or killing of three enemy officers and 54 enlisted men, the destruction of three enemy strong points and the seizure of enemy positions which had halted a battalion attack,” according to Kandle’s citation on the Medal of Honor website.
Kandle was killed in battle on December 24, 1944. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in May 1945. Kandle was also awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Croix de Guerre France and the Purple Heart.
The Puyallup School Board approved a $6,000 donation from the VFW on June 18 for the installation of a 4-foot tall memorial for Kandle.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Puyallup board member Dane Looker said. “It’s obviously long overdue.”
The memorial, created by Edgewood Monuments, will be made of gray and black granite and include a picture of Kandle, his citation and list of medals. It will be placed on the west side of the PHS main building, near the entrance.
“We want to place that in the front of Puyallup High School and really make it a focal point at the front of the school,” chief operations officer Mario Casello said. “We want to involve the Puyallup High School students and understand ... who was Mr. Kandle and what did he do and how does he represent the Puyallup community?”
The memorial is expected to be installed next spring with a dedication ceremony.
“In this way we can show your distinguished graduate of the class of ‘39 … that he received the recognition and honors due to him and in this way Leonard Kandle will finally be home,” Taylor said.