The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company F, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 17 August 1952. While accompanying a patrol en route to occupy a combat outpost forward of friendly lines, Private First Class Simanek exhibited a high degree of courage and resolute spirit of self-sacrifice in protecting the lives of his fellow Marines. With his unit ambushed by an intense concentration of enemy mortar and small-arms fire, and suffering heavy casualties he was forced to seek cover with the remaining members of the patrol in the near-by trench line. Determined to save his comrades when a hostile grenade was hurled into their midst, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and shielding his fellow Marines from serious injury or death. Gravely wounded as a result of his heroic action Private First Class Simanek, by his daring initiative and great personal valor in the face of certain death, served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
President of the United States
Private First Class Robert Ernest Simanek, who threw himself on an enemy grenade to save his comrades, was the 36th Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Korea. The Nation's highest decoration was presented to him by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a White House ceremony on 27 October 1953.
Private First Class Simanek, who was so badly wounded by the grenade that he was later retired, was serving with Company F, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, when the action occurred on 18 August 1952. His patrol had gone well forward of friendly lines to occupy an outpost when the Marines ran into a trap.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, PFC Simanek was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for the wounds he suffered in his heroic act.
Robert Ernest Simanek was born in Detroit, Michigan, on 26 April 1930. He graduated from high school there in 1948 and worked for the Ford Motor Company and General Motors before he was inducted into the Marine Corps on 13 August 1951.
Completing recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, in October 1951, he was ordered to Camp Pendleton, California, the following month. After further training at Camp Pendleton, he sailed for Korea in April 1952, joining Company F, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines on 6 May 1952. He had earned two battle stars by the time he was wounded.
After he was wounded he was treated aboard the hospital ship Haven, and later in Japan, before he was returned to the United States in September 1952. He then was hospitalized at Mare Island, California, and at Great Lakes, Illinois, until he was placed on the temporary disability retired list, 1 March 1953.
In addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, he was also awarded the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars; the United Nations Service Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.
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