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First Name: Duane

Last Name: Dewey

Birthplace: Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Edgar

Date of Birth: 16 November 1931

Rank: Corporal

Years Served: 1951-1952
Duane Edgar Dewey

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Duane Edgar Dewey
Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Dewey was born on 16 November 1931 in Grand Rapids, MI. He attended school in Muskegon until 1947. He then worked for six months on a farm in South Haven, and for a year as a foundry worker at National Motors, Inc., also in South Haven.

Dewey signed with the Marine Corps Reserve on 7 March 1951 for an indefinite enlistment; the duration of the war plus six months. He completed recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, and underwent intensive combat training at Camp Pendleton, CA, until embarking for Korea in September 1951. He participated in the United Nations Summer-Fall Offensive of 1951 and the second winter of Korean fighting.

Medal of Honor Action

Corporal Dewey earned the Medal of Honor on 16 April 1952, near Panmunjom, Korea, while serving as leader of a machine gun squad with Company E, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He had been wounded by a grenade that had exploded at his feet, and was being treated by a Navy medical corpsman when an enemy grenade landed at the squad's position. Yanking the corpsman to the ground, and warning members of the squad, Cpl Dewey flung himself on the grenade shouting, "Doc, I got it in my hip pocket!" The grenade exploded, lifting him off the ground and inflicting "gaping shrapnel wounds throughout the lower part of his body." In addition, he sustained a bullet wound to the stomach.

After treatment of his wounds at the front, Dewey was evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, and then to the U.S. Naval Hospitals at Mare Island, CA, and Great Lakes, IL. Following his recuperation at Great Lakes, he was released from active duty on 19 August 1952.

Dewey was the first person to receive the Medal of Honor from President Dwight D. Eisenhower. After presenting the award on 12 March 1953 at the White House, Eisenhower told him, "You must have a body of steel."

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR 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 Gunner in a Machine-Gun Platoon of Company E, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces near Panmunjom, Korea, on 16 April 1952. When an enemy grenade landed close to this position while he and his assistant gunner were receiving medical attention for their wounds during a fierce night attack by numerically superior hostile forces, Corporal Dewey, although suffering intense pain, immediately pulled the corpsman to the ground and, shouting a warning to the other Marines around him, bravely smothered the deadly missile with his body, personally absorbing the full force of the explosion to save his comrades from possible injury or death. His indomitable courage, outstanding initiative and valiant efforts in behalf of others in the face of almost certain death reflect the highest credit upon Corporal Dewey and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


Other Medals and Awards

Purple Heart
Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
United Nations Service Medal

Honoree ID: 1153   Created by: MHOH




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