Michael Fastner was born on November 16, 1919, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 28, 1939, and was trained as an Infantryman. Sgt Fastner joined F Company, 242nd Infantry Regiment of the 42nd Infantry Division in July 1943, and deployed with the unit to Europe in November 1944. He was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War in France on January 15, 1945, and was held at Stalag 12F at Forbach Bei Saarbrucken Baden in Germany until his camp was liberated at the end of the war. Sgt Fastner left active duty on October 21, 1945, but reenlisted in the Army on November 5, 1945. At the outbreak of the Korean War he was serving with Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division, and he deployed with his unit to Korea in July 1950. MSG Fastner was wounded in action on September 2, 1950, returned to duty on October 17, 1950, and was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War on November 30, 1950. He died in captivity on February 28, 1951, and his remains were later returned to the United States and were identified on September 21, 2010. He was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 22, 2011.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For gallantry in action while serving
with Company F, 242d Infantry Regiment, 42d Infantry Division. On 15 January
1945, near Haguenau, France, while acting as assistant patrol leader of a combat
patrol, in order to determine the disposition of enemy personnel and weapons and
with utter disregard for his own safety, Sergeant Fastner advanced directly upon a
known enemy position, drawing fire upon himself as a result of which an enemy
outpost was located. This information proved of great value in the formulation of
future operations in the sector. Sergeant Fastner failed to return from his mission
and was reported missing in action.