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 as an Artillery Observer of Battery F, Second Battalion, Eleventh Marines, First Marine Division(Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on the night of 26 October 1952. When his observation post in an extremely critical and vital sector of the main line of resistance was subjected to a sudden and fanatical attack by hostile forces, supported by a devastating barrage of artillery and mortar fire which completely severed communication lines connecting; the outpost with friendly firing batteries, Second Lieutenant Skinner, in a determined effort to hold his position, immediately organized and directed the surviving personnel in the defense of the outpost, continuing to call down fire on the enemy by means of radio alone until their equipment became damaged beyond repair. Undaunted by the intense hostile barrage and the rapidly closing attackers, he twice left the protection of his bunker in order to direct accurate machine-gun fire and to replenish the depleted supply of ammunition and grenades. Although painfully wounded on each occasion, he steadfastly refused medical aid until the rest of the men received treatment. As the ground attack reached its climax. he gallantly directed the final defense until the meager supply of ammunition was exhausted and the position was overrun. During the three hours that the outpost was occupied by the enemy, several grenades were thrown into the bunker which served as protection for Second Lieutenant Skinner and his remaining comrades. Realizing that there was no chance for other than passive resistance, he directed his men to feign death even though the hostile troops entered the bunker and searched their persons. Later, when an enemy grenade was thrown between him and two other survivors, he immediately threw himself on the the deadly missile in an effort to protect the others, absorbing the full force of the explosion and sacrificing his life for his comrades. By his indomitable fighting spirit, superb leadership and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, Second Lieutenant Skinner served to inspire his fellow Marines in their heroic stand against the enemy and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
President of the United States
Second Lieutenant Sherrod Emerson Skinner, Jr., of East Lansing, Michigan, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for the gallant defense of his outpost on “The Hook” in Korea, at the cost of his life, 26 October 1952.
His parents were notified by Gen Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, that their heroic son was the 35th Marine to be awarded the Nation’s highest decoration since the start of the Korean War.
Second Lieutenant Skinner was a forward artillery observer with the 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in a vital forward outpost when it was attacked by the enemy under cover of heavy artillery fire. He continued the defense of the position until ammunition was exhausted and then directed his men to feign death as the enemy overran the position. When a grenade was thrown among the Marines, he threw himself on it, sacrificing his own life to protect his men.
Second Lieutenant Skinner, who went to Korea in September 1952, was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in his final action. He and his twin brother had joined the Marine Corps Reserve together.
Sherrod Emerson Skinner, Jr. was born 29 October 1929 in Hartford, Connecticut, and attended grammar school in East Lansing. In 1947, he graduated from Milton Academy, Milton, Massachusetts, and entered Harvard University. While at Harvard, he and his twin brother entered the Marine Corps Reserve Platoon Leaders program, serving on active duty during the summers of 1948 and 1949. He was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve on 9 October 1951 and ordered to active duty the following day.
In March 1952, after completing the Marine Officers Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, 2dLt Skinner entered the Battery Officer Course in the Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and completed the artillery course in July 1952. He then trained at Camp Pendleton, California, until he left for Korea.
In addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, 2dLt Skinner was entitled to the Korean Service Medal with one bronze star and the United Nations Service Medal.
Second Lieutenant Skinner’s remains were returned to Arlington National Cemetery for burial in January 1953.
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