Richard De Wert
was born on 17 November 1931 in Taunton, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the
U.S. Navy in December 1948. Following "boot camp" and Hospital
Corps training at Great Lakes, Illinois, he was assigned to the Naval
Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia, during 1949-50. In July 1950, he joined the
Fleet Marine Force and soon sailed for the Far East to take part in the
Korean War. Landing with the First Marine Division at Inchon in September
1950, Hospitalman De Wert participated in operations to liberate the city of
Seoul. During the rest of 1950, he was involved in the landings at Wonsan,
the Chosin Reservoir Campaign and the Hungnam Evacuation.
In 1951 Hospitalman De Wert served with the Marines as they cleared North
Korean guerrillas from rural areas of South Korea and as they helped drive
the enemy beyond the Thirty-eighth Parallel. On 5 April 1951, while with the
2nd Battalion, 7th Marines during an attack on Chinese Communist forces, De
Wert persistently, and in spite of his own wounds, moved through fire-swept
ground to aid fallen Marines. He was killed in action while administering
first aid to an injured comrade. For his great heroism on this occasion, Hospitalman
Richard De Wert was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Hell Breaks Loose in The Land of the Morning Calm
It's April 5, 1951 and Dog Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines has just
crossed the 38th Parrallel above Hoengsong. The units objective is Hill 439.
At approximately 1000 hours a fire team from the Company's point platoon is
pinned down with heavy and accurate automatic weapons fire.
"Pleas of 'Corpsman' came from everywhere". Hospitalman Richard De
Wert ran to the first call, a seriously injured rifleman, only to be shot in
the leg, he dragged the wounded Marine to safety and ran, limping, to the aid
of another Marine. Throwing the man over his shoulder, he zigged and zagged
his way through the bullets to safety.
"Gasping" to catch his breath and with his leg throbbing, De Wert
could hear more calls for help. He was up again and dodging bullets on the
run. He reached another Marine only to find him dead, and received a bullet
in his shoulder as a reward. He heard another call, tired out of breath, and
losing blood from his wounds De Wert was up again to a fourth Marine. As he
attempted to treat the wounded Marine, HC De Wert fell dead, killed by enemy
fire. It was one of the most selfless acts of heroism a man can commit and
won him the Medal of Honor.
Fred Frankville, John Alseth, and Robert Gentry witnessed De Werts heroism
and Fred made the recommendation to Lee Wimpee (Third Platoon Leader) that a
Medal of Honor be awarded to De Wert. Lee wrote up the citation and passed it
on to Al Mackin (Company Commander) who authorized it. The recommendation was
then forwarded to Headquarters Marine Corps.
Medal of Honor
The President of the United States,
in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the
MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to:
DEWERT, RICHARD DAVID.
UNITED STATES NAVY
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and
beyond the call of duty while serving as a HC, in action against enemy
aggressor forces. When a fire team from the point platoon of his company was
pinned down by a deadly barrage of hostile automatic weapons fired and
suffered many casualties, HC Dewert rushed to the assistance of 1 of the more
seriously wounded and, despite a painful leg wound sustained while dragging
the stricken marine to safety, steadfastly refused medical treatment for
himself and immediately dashed back through the fireswept area to carry a
second wounded man out of the line of fire. Undaunted by the mounting hail of
devastating enemy fire, he bravely moved forward a third time and received
another serious wound in the shoulder after discovering that a wounded marine
had already died. Still persistent in his refusal to submit to first aid, he
resolutely answered the call of a fourth stricken comrade and, while
rendering medical assistance, was himself mortally wounded by a burst of
enemy fire. His courageous initiative, great personal valor, and heroic
spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the highest
credit upon HC Dewert and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval
Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
HARRY S. TRUMAN