Hospitalman Richard De Wert, USNR (1931-1951)
Richard De Wert was born on 17 November 1931 in Taunton, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1948. Following "boot camp" and Hospital Corps training at Great Lakes, Illinois, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia, during 1949-50. In July 1950, he joined the Fleet Marine Force and soon sailed for the Far East to take part in the Korean War. Landing with the First Marine Division at Inchon in September 1950, Hospitalman De Wert participated in operations to liberate the city of Seoul. During the rest of 1950, he was involved in the landings at Wonsan, the Chosin Reservoir Campaign and the Hungnam Evacuation.
In 1951 Hospitalman De Wert served with the Marines as they cleared North Korean guerrillas from rural areas of South Korea and as they helped drive the enemy beyond the Thirty-eighth Parallel. On 5 April 1951, while with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines during an attack on Chinese Communist forces, De Wert persistently, and in spite of his own wounds, moved through fire-swept ground to aid fallen Marines. He was killed in action while administering first aid to an injured comrade. For his great heroism on this occasion, Hospitalman Richard De Wert was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Hell Breaks Loose in The Land of the Morning Calm
It's April 5, 1951 and Dog Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines has just crossed the 38th Parrallel above Hoengsong. The units objective is Hill 439. At approximately 1000 hours a fire team from the Company's point platoon is pinned down with heavy and accurate automatic weapons fire.
"Pleas of 'Corpsman' came from everywhere". Hospitalman Richard De Wert ran to the first call, a seriously injured rifleman, only to be shot in the leg, he dragged the wounded Marine to safety and ran, limping, to the aid of another Marine. Throwing the man over his shoulder, he zigged and zagged his way through the bullets to safety.
"Gasping" to catch his breath and with his leg throbbing, De Wert could hear more calls for help. He was up again and dodging bullets on the run. He reached another Marine only to find him dead, and received a bullet in his shoulder as a reward. He heard another call, tired out of breath, and losing blood from his wounds De Wert was up again to a fourth Marine. As he attempted to treat the wounded Marine, HC De Wert fell dead, killed by enemy fire. It was one of the most selfless acts of heroism a man can commit and won him the Medal of Honor.
Fred Frankville, John Alseth, and Robert Gentry witnessed De Werts heroism and Fred made the recommendation to Lee Wimpee (Third Platoon Leader) that a Medal of Honor be awarded to De Wert. Lee wrote up the citation and passed it on to Al Mackin (Company Commander) who authorized it. The recommendation was then forwarded to Headquarters Marine Corps.
The President of the United States,
in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the
MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to:
DEWERT, RICHARD DAVID.
UNITED STATES NAVY
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a HC, in action against enemy aggressor forces. When a fire team from the point platoon of his company was pinned down by a deadly barrage of hostile automatic weapons fired and suffered many casualties, HC Dewert rushed to the assistance of 1 of the more seriously wounded and, despite a painful leg wound sustained while dragging the stricken marine to safety, steadfastly refused medical treatment for himself and immediately dashed back through the fireswept area to carry a second wounded man out of the line of fire. Undaunted by the mounting hail of devastating enemy fire, he bravely moved forward a third time and received another serious wound in the shoulder after discovering that a wounded marine had already died. Still persistent in his refusal to submit to first aid, he resolutely answered the call of a fourth stricken comrade and, while rendering medical assistance, was himself mortally wounded by a burst of enemy fire. His courageous initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the highest credit upon HC Dewert and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
/S/HARRY S. TRUMAN