The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

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

Private First Class

United States Marine Corps Reserve

Richard Kraus


Private First Class Richard E. Kraus
United States Marine Corps Reserve

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Eighth Amphibian Tractor Battalion, Third Amphibious Corps, Fleet Marine Force, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleiu, Palau Islands, on 3 October 1944. Unhesitatingly volunteering for the extremely hazardous mission of evacuationg a wounded comrade from the front lines, Private First Class Kraus and three companions courageously made their way forward and successfully penetrated the lines for some distance before the enemy opened with an intense, devastating barrage of hand grenades which forced the stretcher party to take cover and subsquently abandon the mission. While returning to the rear, they observed two men approaching who appeared to be Marines and immediately demanded the password. When instead of answering, one of the two Japanese threw a hand grenade into the midst of the group, Private First Class Kraus heroically flung himself upon the grenade and, covering it with his body, absorbed the full impact of the explosion and was instantly killed. By his prompt action and great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved the lives of his three companions, and his loyal spirit of self-sacrifice reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.

Harry S. Truman
President of the United States

Private First Class Richard Edward Kraus, posthumous recipient of the Nation's highest military tribute, the Medal of Honor, was killed in action during the World War II campaign on Peleliu Island on 3 October 1944. The award was presented to his mother on 2 August 1945, by Col Norman E. True, District Marine Officer for the Ninth Naval District.

Richard E. Kraus was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 24 November 1925, and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, when he was seven. He attended Edison High School there and was inducted into the Marine Corps on his 18th birthday, after previously trying to enlist.

On the occasion of his heroism and death, he was serving as an amphibious tractor driver with the 8th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, which participated in the D-Day landings on Peleliu. He and three companions had accepted a volunteer mission to evacuate a wounded fellow Marine from the front lines. As the group made their way forward, they were met by an intense barrage of hand grenade fire, which forced them to take cover.

While returning to the rear, the stretcher party observed two men approaching who they believed were Marines. Upon challenging the pair, they proved to be Japanese, and one of the enemy responded by throwing a hand grenade into the midst of the group. PFC Kraus unhesitatingly hurled himself on top of it, and by his prompt action and personal valor in the face of certain death, saved the lives of his three comrades.

Private First Class Kraus had been overseas only three months at the time of the Peleliu battle, which was his first campaign.

Private First Class Kraus was initially buried in the U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery on Peleliu, Palau Islands. Later, in 1948, his remains were reinterred in Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, at his parents' request.

Footnote: The United States Navy named a Destroyer in honor of PFC Kraus. It was designated as the USS Richard E. Kraus (DD849) One of the former crew members from 1970-71 reported that she was sold to South Korean Navy as of the latest information, she was still in service. The USS Richard E. Kraus (DD849) was commisioned on May 23, 1946.

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