The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

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

Stanley R. Christianson

United States Marine Corps


Private First Class Stanley R. Christianson
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 Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces at Hill 132, Seoul, Korea, in the early morning hours of 29 September 1950. Manning one of the several listening posts covering approaches to the platoon area when the enemy commenced the attack, Private First Class Christianson quickly sent another Marine to alert the rest of the platoon. Without orders, he remained in his position and, with full knowledge that he would have slight chance of escape, fired relentlessly at oncoming hostile troops attacking furiously with rifles, automatic weapons and incendiary grenades. Accounting for seven enemy dead in the immediate vicinity before his position was overrun and he himself fatally struck down, Private First Class Christianson, by his superb courage, valiant fighting spirit and devotion to duty, was responsible for allowing the rest of the platooon time to man positions, build up a stronger defense on that flank and repel the attack with 41 of the enemy destroyed, and many more wounded and three taken prisoner. His self-sacrificing actions in the face of overwhelming odds sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Private First Class Christianson gallantly gave his life for his country.

Harry S. Truman
President of the United States.

Private First Class Stanley R. Christianson of Mindoro, Wisconsin, earned the Medal of Honor for giving his life in a one-man stand against a ferocious attack which threatened to destroy his platoon in Korea on 29 September 1950.

The Nation’s highest tribute for gallantry was presented posthumously to his parents by Secretary of the Navy Daniel A. Kimball in Washington, D.C., on 30 August 1951. The Medal of Honor was PFC Christianson’s second decoration in 16 days of fighting in Korea. Just 11 days before he was killed, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for another act of valor.

The 25-year-old Leatherneck, a veteran of almost eight years in the Marine Corps, also had been awarded the Letter of Commendation for meritorious service in the Pacific during World War II.

Born 24 January 1925, in Mindoro, Wisconsin, Stanley Reuben Christianson attended school in LaCrosse County, Wisconsin, and farmed for a time before enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve on 2 October 1942, at the age of 17.

Following recruit training at San Diego, California, PFC Christianson took advanced training with the 2d Marine Division and went overseas with that outfit. He fought at Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa, and served with the occupation forces in Japan.

Discharged in December 1945, PFC Christianson reenlisted in the regular Marine Corps three months later. He served at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida; as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island, South Carolina; at the Naval Ammunition Depot, Hastings, Nebraska; at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York; and at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, before going overseas to Korea with the 1st Marine Division in August 1950.

After participating in the Inchon landing, he earned the Bronze Star Medal on 18 September 1950. The citation said Private First Class Christianson, acting as an automatic rifleman during an assault, “fearlessly and courageously exposed himself to find the exact location of the enemy." Eleven days later, PFC Christianson was killed.

Besides the Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star Medal and the Letter of Commendation, PFC Christianson held the following decorations: Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation with two bronze stars; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia and Europe clasps; and the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars.


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