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
Charles Roan



Private First Class Charles H. Roan
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 Second Battalion , Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese Forces on Peleliu, Palau Islands, 18 September 1944. Shortly after his leader ordered a withdrawal upon discovering the the squad was partly cut off from their company as a result of their rapid advance along an exposed ridge during an aggressive attack on the strongly entrenched enemy, Private First Class Roan and his companions were suddenly engaged in a furious exchange of hand grenades with Japanese forces emplaced in a cave on higher ground and the rear of the squad. Seeking protection with four other Marines in a depression in the rocky, broken terrain, Private First Class Roan was wounded by an enemy grenade which fell close to their position and, immediately realizing the imminent peril to his comrades when another grenade landed in the midst of the group, unhesitatingly flung himself upon it, covering it with his body and absorbing the full impact of the explosion. By his prompt action and selfless conduct in the face of almost certain death, he saved the lives of four men. His great personal valor 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

Footnote: Private First Class Charles Howard Roan was born August 16, 1923 in Claude, Texas, son of Henry C. and Lillabel (Bacon) Roan, Sr.. He attended local schools , and was a member of the Methodist Church from the age of nine and worked at a Service Station after school and weekends. He went to California at age 17 to visit his brother, Henry C. Jr.. Charles volunteered for the Marine Corps in 1942 and entered the service in Texas. In June, 1943, he was sent to the Pacific. From October, 1943 until September , 1944 he participated in action in Eastern New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Palau Islands. PFC Roan served with the Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, on Peleliu Island. Charles was killed in action during this action and is buried at the A.B.M.C. Cemetery, Manila, Philippine Islands. A "Memory Marker" is located at the Claude Cemetery in Claude, Texas. His medals include the Purple Heart, The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. A Texas Historic Marker has been placed on the Roan Family Plot in the Claude Cemetery. The Navy commissioned a Destroyer named in his honor.

On 21 July 1945, the nation paid homage to a young Marine who gave his life for his country. During a simple presentation ceremony on the Armstrong County Courthouse lawn, Mrs. Lillabel Roan, of Claude, Texas, accepted the Medal of Honor posthumously awarded her son, PFC Charles H. Roan, 21.

Charles Howard Roan was born 16 August 1923, in Claude. Until he performed his act of sacrifice, his life had been that of any small town American boy. Charles attended the local high school and worked in a local garage.

The youth enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in December 1942. A rifleman in the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, he was already a veteran of bitter fighting when he threw himself upon a Japanese hand-grenade in the Peleliu landing, saving four Marines in his unit at the cost of his own life on 18 September 1944. Prior to his death, he had been in two previous battles-New Guinea and Cape Gloucester-and had seen 15 months of overseas duty. Besides the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart, he also held the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three battle stars.

Memorial services for PFC Roan took place in the Methodist Church in Claude on 8 April 1945.

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