The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

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

Staff Sergeant

United States Marine Corps

Robert Kennemore




 For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Leader of a Machine-Gun Section in Company E, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 27 and 28 November 1950. With the company's defensive perimeter overrun by a numerically superior hostile force during a savage night attack north of Yudam-ni and his platoon commander seriously wounded, Staff
Sergeant Kennemore unhesitatingly assumed command, quickly reorganized the unit and directed the men in consolidating the position. When an enemy grenade landed in the midst of a machine-gun squad, he bravely placed his foot on the missile and, in the face of almost certain death, personally absorbed the full force of the explosion to prevent injury to his fellow Marines. By his indomitable courage, outstanding leadership and selfless efforts in behalf of his comrades, Staff Sergeant Kennemore was greatly instrumental in driving the enemy from the area and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

President of the United States

Staff Sergeant Robert Sidney Kennemore, 32, of Greenville, South Carolina, earned the Medal of Honor during the bitter Chosin Reservoir campaign of November 1950, when he deliberately covered an enemy grenade with his foot to keep his men from being wounded or killed. SSgt Kennemore, who lost both of his legs through his unselfish sacrifice, is the 23rd Marine to receive the Nation’s highest award for heroism in Korea. The medal was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman during ceremonies at the White House on 24 November 1952.

A veteran of the Guadalcanal-Tulagi campaign of World War II, Robert Sidney Kennemore was born 21 June 1920, in Greenville, South Carolina. He attended high school in Simpsonville, South Carolina, until 1935, and was employed by the Montgomery Ward Company, in Chicago, Illinois, before enlisting in the Marine Corps on 20 June 1940.

Completing his recruit training in San Diego, California, in August 1940, he was stationed there until July 1942, when he sailed for the Pacific theater with the 1st Marine Division. After serving with the division in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi campaign, he returned to the United States in June 1943 for duty at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

In February 1944, he was ordered to Camp Pendleton, California, where he served until that September. He was then stationed at the Marine Barracks, Klamath Falls, Oregon, until February 1945, when he was assigned to the Marine Barracks, at the Naval Air Station, Boca Chica, Florida.

In July 1945, after brief service at Camp Lejeune, he embarked for Japan to serve on occupation duty with the 2d Marine Division. He returned to the States in April 1946, and served briefly at San Diego and the Marine Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana, until September 1946, when he began a year of duty at the Marine Barracks, Naval Mine Depot, Yorktown, Virginia. In September 1947, he was ordered to New York City, where he served for two years at Headquarters of the 3d Marine Corps Reserve District.

Staff Sergeant Kennemore joined the 2d Battalion, 6th Regiment, 2d Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, in October 1949, and with the outbreak of the Korean fighting, moved with the battalion to the West Coast in July 1950. The 2d Battalion was made part of the 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in August 1950, and the following month SSgt Kennemore embarked for Korea, where he served with the 2d Battalion in the Seoul and Chosin Reservoir campaigns.

After he was wounded in the action which earned him the Medal of Honor, SSgt Kennemore was returned to the United States in December 1950 for treatment at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Oakland, California. He remained in that hospital for almost a year, until his retirement on 31 October 1951.

Staff Sergeant Kennemore passed away on 26 April 1989. He was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco, California.

In addition to the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart Medal he received for his wounds, SSgt Kennemore’s medals and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation with two bronze stars; the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with two bronze stars in lieu of second and third awards; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Theater Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaign Medal with two bronze stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp; the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars; and the United Nations Service Medal.
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