Charles Abrell was born on August 12, 1931, in Terre Haute, Indiana. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on August 18, 1948, and after completing basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he was assigned as a rifleman to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Cpl Abrell deployed to Japan at the beginning of the Korean War aboard the attack transport USS Noble (APA-218), and then participated in the Inchon Landing in September 1950. He participated in combat at Inchon, Seoul, Wonsan, Chosin Reservoir, and Hanghum before he was killed in action at Hwachon on June 10, 1951. Cpl Abrell was buried at the United Nations Military Cemetery in Tanggok, South Korea, and was later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Fire Team Leader in Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 10 June 1951. While advancing with his platoon in an attack against well-concealed and heavily-fortified enemy hill positions, Corporal Abrell voluntarily rushed forward through the assaulting squad which was pinned down by ah ail of intense and accurate automatic-weapons fire from a hostile bunker situated on commanding ground. Although previously wounded by enemy hand-grenade fragments, he proceeded to carry out a bold, singlehanded attack against the bunker, exhorting his comrades to follow him. Sustaining two additional wounds as he stormed toward the emplacement, he resolutely pulled the pin from a grenade clutched in his hand and hurled himself bodily into the bunker with the live missile still in his grasp. Fatally wounded in the resulting explosion which killed the entire enemy gun crew within the stronghold, Corporal Abrell, by his valiant spirit of self-sacrfice in the face of certain death, served to inspire all his comrades and contributed directly to the success of his platoon in attaining its objective. His superb courage and heroic initiative sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.