The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

Richard B. Anderson
Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
Richard B. Anderson



Private First Class Richard B. Anderson
United States Marine Corps

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Fourth Marine Division during action against enemy Japanese forces on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, February 1, 1944. Entering a shell crater occupied by three other Marines, Private First Class Anderson was preparing to throw a grenade at the enemy position when it slipped from his hand and rolled toward the men at the bottom of the hole. With insufficient time to retrieve the armed weapon and throw it, Private First Class Anderson fearlissly chose to sacrifice himself and save his companions by hurling his body upon the grenade and taking the full impact of the explosion. His presonal valor and exceptional spirit of loyalty in the face of almost certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States

Footnote: Private First Class Anderson was born on 26 June 1921, in Tacoma, Washington where he attended the local schools. He joined the Marine Corps on 6 July 1942. He served with Company E, Second Battalion, Twenty-Third Regiment. His remains are interred in the New Tacoma Cemetery in Tacoma. Rear Admiral J.A. Taffinder, Commandant, 13th Naval District presented the Medal of Honor to Private Andersons parents in Seattle, Washington.
Thanks to the efforts of Mr. John W. Des Jarlais, a member of the Fourth Marine Division Association, the lack of indication on the grave marker that indicated Private First Class Anderson was a recipient of the Medal of Honor will be corrected. There will be a moving and appropriate Dedication Ceremony to honor him at his grave site at 1400 hrs (2 P.M.) on 14 May 1997 at the New Tacoma Cemetary, 9212 Chambers Creek Road West, Tacoma, Washington.
Beau Bergeson, Washington State Director of Veterans Affairs will be the Master of Ceremonies. Lt. Col. Kelly Kvigne, Inspector-Instructor, 4th Landing Support Battalion will be the guest speaker. Colonel Kvigne will be accompanied by the 4th Landing Support Battalion firing squad.

Private First Class Richard B. Anderson, who hurled himself on a live grenade in a shell hole on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, to save the lives of three buddies though he knew death for himself was almost certain, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor--the nation's highest military decoration.

Roi Island was the first pre-war Japanese territory to fall to Marines. PFC Anderson, a member of the invasion force, was hunting enemy snipers when he chose the shell hole in the center of Roi airfield as a point of vantage from which to attack Japanese positions.

The 22-year-old Marine, who had tattooed on his arm the inscription, "Death Before Dishonor," was evacuated to a ship, where he died of his wounds on 1 February 1944. He was buried at sea with full military honors.

Black-haired and ruddy complexioned, Richard Beatty Anderson, who was just five and a half feet tall, was born in Tacoma, Washington, on 26 June 1921. He attended McCleay School and Sequim High School. He worked for eleven months in the Richmond Shipyards, Richmond, California, before entering the Marine Corps on 6 July 1942 in Oakland, California.

Transferred to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, for his recruit training, he next joined the Marine Barracks, Naval Receiving Station in San Diego in October 1942. Promoted to private first class on 12 April 1943, he was ordered to the Infantry Battalion, Training Center, Camp Elliott, San Diego, shortly afterwards.

He next joined his last unit, Company E, 2d Battalion, 23d Marines, and with his unit he departed from the United States in January 1944. The following month he landed in the Marshall Islands.

The Medal of Honor was presented to his parents by Rear Admiral Sherwoode A. Taffinder, USN, then Commandant of the Thirteenth Naval District in Seattle, Washington.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.


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