Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Jack

Last Name: Davenport

Birthplace: Kansas City, MO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Kansas City, MO
Middle Name: Arden

Date of Birth: 07 September 1931

Date of Death: 21 September 1951

Rank: Corporal

Years Served: 1950-1951
Jack Arden Davenport

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Jack Arden Davenport
Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Jack Arden Davenport was born on 7 September 1931 in Kansas City, MO, where he graduated from high school in 1949. While in high school, he was a newspaper carrier for the Kansas City Star and played American Legion baseball for three seasons. Upon completing high school, he studied for a year at the University of Kansas, where he was a member of the freshman football team. Jack was also a Golden Gloves boxer.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps on 25 July 1950, and completed his recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA, that September. He was then stationed with the Training and Replacement Command at Camp Pendleton, CA, until December 1950, when he embarked to join the 5th Marines in Korea.

In the early morning of 21 September 1951, Corporal Davenport sacrificed his life to save the life of a fellow Marine in Korea. He and another Marine were standing watch together when an enemy hand grenade landed in their foxhole. Without any thought for his own safety, Davenport found the grenade in the dark and smothered its explosion with his own body in order to save the life of his fellow Marine. Jack was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions and sacrifice of life on that day.

Medal of Honor

Davenport's father, Fred, received his son's Medal of Honor on 7 January 1953 from U.S. Secretary of the Navy Dan A. Kimball in Washington, DC.

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


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 Squad Leader in Company G, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Songnae-Dong, Korea, early on the morning of 21 September 1951. While expertly directing the defense of his position during a probing attack by hostile forces attempting to infiltrate the area, Corporal Davenport, acting quickly when an enemy grenade fell into the foxhole which he was occupying with another Marine, skillfully located the deadly projectile in the dark and, undeterred by the personal risk involved, heroically threw himself over the live missile, thereby saving his companion from serious injury or possible death. His cool and resourceful leadership were contributing factors in the successful repulse of the enemy attack and his superb courage and admirable spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death enhance and sustain the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Corporal Davenport gallantly gave his life for his country.



On 16 April 2005, the University of Kansas, the school that Jack attended for one year before enlisting in the Marines, dedicated its Korean War Memorial. The following is a brief excerpt from that dedication which used the story of Jack A. Davenport to represent the 44 men honored on the Memorial:

Chancellor's remarks at dedication of KU Korean War Memorial

Chancellor: Welcome to this solemn occasion in the life of the University of Kansas: the Dedication of our University of Kansas Korean War Memorial.

Before our program begins, I do want to thank Congressmen Dennis Moore for traveling here from Washington to be with us this morning. Congressman Moore, would you please stand?

Here for the Dedication representing Senator Pat Roberts is Harold Stones. Mr. Stones, would you please stand?

I also want to acknowledge the creator of the beautiful sculpture which graces this Memorial, John Havener, (HAY-vener) whose work is entitled, "Korean Cranes Rising." Professor Havener, would you please stand?

We are also honored to have with us the Deputy Commanding General, Combined Arms Center for Training in Ft. Leavenworth, Brigadier General John Woods. General Woods would you please stand?

Here is the inscription that is a permanent part of the University of Kansas Korean War Memorial:

"This memorial commemorates the conflict that began on 25 June 1950 when North Korean military forces crossed the 38th parallel and launched a massive invasion of South Korea. Responding to pleas for help by the government of the Republic of Korea, the United States sought a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning North Korea's actions and calling upon member nations to give 'every assistance' to South Korea. Subsequently, President Harry S. Truman committed U.S. military forces to the defense of the Republic of Korea.

Over the next three years, military forces from the Republic of Korea, the United States, and from fifteen other countries pursued the mandate of the United Nations to defend South Korea's independence and to restore stability to the Korean peninsula. The human costs of that struggle were great. Total estimated casualties --- killed, wounded, missing in action --- suffered by the Republic of Korea were 238,656; by the United States 142,091; and by other United Nations forces 17,260. Approximately one million South Korean civilian casualties and another one million North Korean civilian casualties occurred as a result of the conflict in Korea. Military operations were brought to an end by the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement at Panmunjom on 27 July 1953.

Although Korea suffered grievously, and the conflict that burned back and forth across the Korean landscape for more than three years has oft been termed 'the forgotten war,' the Korean conflict represents a difficult, yet ultimately successful, struggle to achieve security and prosperity for the people of South Korea and to further the cause of freedom for all mankind."

There are 44 names inscribed on this Memorial --- and there are descendents of several with us this morning --- and for each of the 44 there is a story of dedication to their country, a story of sacrifice. Of the 44 names, We have chosen one to represent them all: Jack A. Davenport from Kansas City, who attended the University of Kansas in the Fall of 1949 before enlisting in the Marines.

On 21 September 1951, two weeks after his 20th birthday, an enemy grenade landed in a foxhole near Song-nae-Dong….a foxhole in which Corporal Davenport and another Marine were standing watch together. Disregarding his own safety, he smothered the grenade with his own body --- in order to save another Marine from death. For his courage and spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death, Jack Davenport was awarded, posthumously, the Congressional Medal of Honor, one of only 131 awarded during the Korean War.

We are here today to honor Corporal Davenport and the 43 others whose names appear on the plaque on this Memorial. But in a deeper sense we are here to honor all those students, faculty and staff who served their country from the day KU first opened in 1866, a few months after the end of the Civil War, to this very morning when many Americans with ties to KU serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the Republic of Korea, and all around the world. I am acutely conscious of this because my own son, Sgt. Matt Hemenway, a KU graduate, presently serves in the 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army in Korea.

All who serve have a unique story, but along with their KU heritage, they all share a love of country.

Many military veterans and family members are with us this morning, and I say "thank you" to them --- and "thank you" to:

--- those 44 who gave their lives during the Korean War;

--- Along with those from WWI for whom Memorial Stadium is dedicated;

--- to those from WWII for whom the Campanile is dedicated;

--- and to those whose ultimate sacrifice is remembered on the walls of the KU Vietnam Memorial.

All of them deserve our humble thanks this morning.

For nearly three decades KU had hoped to build a Korean War Memorial, and it was not until March of 2003 that the lead gift was made that eventually resulted in today's dedication. That gift came from a distinguished Korean-American businessman from Kansas City . . . Mr. Yong L. Kim.


Jack Arden Davenport's body was returned to the United States in January 1952 and is buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Hickman Mills, MO.

Honoree ID: 1148   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image