The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

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

Robert H. McCard
Gunnery Sergeant

United States Marine Corps


Gunnery Sergeant Robert H. McCard
United States Marine Corps

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Platoon Sergeant of Company A, Fourth Tank Battalion, Fourth Marine Division, during the battle for enemy Japanese-held Saipan, Marina Islands, on June 16,1944. Cut off from other units of his platoon when his tank was put out of action by a battery of enemy 77-mm. guns, Gunnery Sergeant McCard carried on resolutely, bringing all the tank's weapons to bear on the enemy, until the severity of hostile fire caused him to order his crew out the escape hatch while he courageously exposed himself to to enemy guns by hurling hand grenades, in order to cover the evacuation of his men. Seriously wounded during this action and with his supply of grenades exhausted, Gunnery Sergeant McCard dismantled one of the Tank's machine guns and faced the Japanese for the second time to deliver vigorous fire into positions, destroying sixteen of the enemy but sacrificing himself to insure the safety of his crew. His valiant fighting spirit and supreme loyalty in the face of almost certain death reflect the hightest credit upon Gunnery Sergeant McCard and the United States Naval Service. He gallanty gave his life for his country.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States

Robert Howard McCard was born in Syracuse, New York, on 25 November 1918. He attended elementary school and two years of high school, where he took a business course. He played both football and baseball in high school. He was employed as a bartender at the Bear Mountain Inn at Iona, New York, before he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

Enlisting in the Marines on 18 December 1939, he was sent to Sea School after he completed boot camp. Upon the successful completion of that school, he went aboard the cruiser USS Tuscaloosa, and served a year at sea. While with the Tuscaloosa, he won a five dollar prize for being a member of the gun crew which placed second in a competition for short range practice with the five-inch anti-aircraft gun. Promoted to private first class on 2 July 1940, he was temporarily made a sergeant when he went on recruiting duty in May 1941.

Assigned to the Central Recruiting District, Sgt McCard served in the Centralia, Illinois, recruiting office.

Reverting to his rank of private first class when he left the recruiting service in December 1941, PFC McCard served at the Great Lakes, Illinois, Naval Training Station for four months and then went to the Training Center at Quantico, Virginia, for a year. He was promoted to corporal in January 1943, and to sergeant in April of the same year. In April, he went to the 4th Tank Battalion of the 4th Marine Division, which was then being formed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It was with this organization that he was to earn the country's highest award - and to lose his life.

Sergeant McCard left the United States on 13 January 1944 and on 31 January landed at Kwajelein in the Marshall Islands. From then until 26 February he took part in the battles of Ennugaret, Ennumennett, and Namur Islands. Leaving the Marshalls, he went to the Hawaiian Islands for two months then sailed for Saipan. D-Day was 15 June 1944. On the 16th, GySgt McCard - he had made platoon sergeant and gunnery sergeant on two successive days in May while acting as platoon sergeant of a tank company - was participating in an advance when his tank was put out of action by a battery of Japanese 77 millimeter guns. Cut off from the rest of his platoon, GySgt McCard brought all his tank's weapons to bear on the enemy but the intensity of the Japanese fire caused him to order his crew out the escape hatch. While they made their escape, the courageous tank commander hurled hand grenades at the enemy until his supply was exhausted. Severely wounded, GySgt McCard nevertheless dismantled one of the tank's machine guns, then faced the enemy again and delivered such effective fire that he killed sixteen of the enemy before he himself was killed. He gallantly gave his life for his country. He was buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery at Saipan, and later reinterred in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in 1948.

For his supreme sacrifice that June day, the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, conferred upon him, posthumously, the greatest military honor, the Medal of Honor. The medal was presented to his widow at Centralia, Illinois, on 10 April 1945, by the Commandant of the 9th Naval District.


Footnote: Gunnery Sergeant McCard was born on 25 November 1918, in Syracuse, New York. Enlisting in the Marine Corps on 18 December 1939, Sergeant McCard completed boot camp and Sea School. After serving aboard ship he was assigned to recruiting duty in May of 1941. In December 1941, he was assigned to the Training Center at Quantico, Virginia. After completing that training he was transferred to the Fourth Marine Division. He was assigned to Able Company, Fourth Tank Battalion. On the second day of the battle for Saipan his heroic actions saved the lives of his tank crew. His Medal of Honor was presented by Rear Admiral Arthur C. Carpender, Commandant, 9th Naval District, to his widow Lizelle McCard, in Centralia, Illinois, on 10 April 1945. The Marine Corps Reserve Center in Syracuse, New York, is named in his honor. His remains are interred in section "B", grave 1024, of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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