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1LT Nicholas Eslinger '07

Nininger Award 2009

Nicholas Eslinger Nininger Award Recipient 2009

The fourth annual Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms was presented to First Lieutenant Nicholas M. Eslinger '07 Infantry, of Oakley, CA, during a dinner at Washington Hall following a reception earlier at Herbert Hall.

While a platoon leader in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) on 1 October 2008, then-2nd Lieutenant Eslinger was on a dismounted patrol after sunset in Samarra, Iraq, when a terrorist behind a courtyard wall threw a hand grenade among him and his men.  Without hesitation, LT Eslinger moved to the grenade, shielding the rest of his men from the imminent explosion with his own body, and stopped it from rolling closer to his platoon sergeant, radio operator, interpreter and two other platoon members.  When the grenade did not immediately explode, he then threw it back towards its source and yelled for his men to take cover. It detonated in midair.  By his quick and selfless action, LT Eslinger saved at least six soldiers from possible serious injury or death. 

The Nininger Award is named in honor of LT Alexander “Sandy” Nininger ‘41, the first member of the Army to be awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II.  On 12 January 1942, Nininger voluntarily attached himself to another company in his Philippine Scouts regiment that was under heavy attack by Japanese forces near Abucay, Bataan, in the Philippines.  Wounded several times, he continued to advance in a counterattack and destroy enemy positions until he was killed. Mr. and Mrs. Doug Kenna ’45 have committed to supporting the award annually and insuring its endowment in perpetuity.