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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Kennemore

Birthplace: Greenville, SC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Sidney

Date of Birth: 21 June 1920

Date of Death: 26 April 1989

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 1940-1951
Robert Sidney Kennemore

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Robert Sidney Kennemore
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Robert Sidney Kennemore was born on 21 June 1920, in Greenville, SC. He attended high school in Simpsonville, SC, until 1935, and was employed by the Montgomery Ward Company, in Chicago, IL, before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps on 20 June 1940.

After completing his recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA, in August 1940, he was stationed there until July 1942, when he sailed for the Pacific theater with the First Marine Division. After serving with the division in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi campaign, he returned to the United States in June 1943 for duty at Camp Lejeune, NC.

In February 1944, he was ordered to Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served until that September. He was then stationed at the Marine Barracks, Klamath Falls, OR, until February 1945, when he was assigned to the Marine Barracks, at the Naval Air Station, Boca Chica, FL.

In July 1945, after brief service at Camp Lejeune, he embarked for Japan to serve on occupation duty with the 2nd Marine Division. He returned to the States in April 1946, and served briefly at San Diego and the Marine Barracks, New Orleans, LA, until September 1946, when he began a year of duty at the Marine Barracks, Naval Mine Depot, Yorktown, VA. In September 1947, he was ordered to New York City, where he served for two years at Headquarters of the 3rd Marine Corps Reserve District.

Staff Sergeant Kennemore joined the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, in October 1949, and with the outbreak of the Korean fighting, moved with the battalion to the west coast in July 1950. The 2nd Battalion was made part of the 7th Marines, First Marine Division in August 1950, and the following month, SSgt Kennemore embarked for Korea, where he served with the 2nd Battalion in the Seoul and Chosin Reservoir campaigns.

It was at the Chosin Reservoir that he lost both of his legs. Kennemore was fighting in a slit trench alongside two other Marines when a grenade landed beside him. Without regard to his safety he grabbed it and threw it back. Immediately after, another grenade landed in the trench, and he used his foot to push it into the earth. At this point he noticed yet another grenade lying close by. Without hesitation he kneeled down on the third grenade and effectively absorbed the blast of the two grenades through his legs. Due to his unselfish sacrifice, SSgt Kennemore lost both of his legs in saving the lives of two fellow Marines. Kennemore returned to the United States in December 1950 for treatment at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Oakland, CA. He remained there for almost a year, until his retirement on 31 October 1951.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress pleasure 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 as Leader of a Machine-Gun Section in Company E, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 27 and November 28, 1950. With the company's defensive perimeter overrun by a numerically superior hostile force during a savage night attack north of Yudam-ni and his platoon commander seriously wounded, Staff Sergeant Kennemore unhesitatingly assumed command, quickly reorganized the unit and directed the men in consolidating the position. When an enemy grenade landed in the midst of a machine-gun squad, he bravely placed his foot on the missile and, in the face of almost certain death, personally absorbed the full force of the explosion to prevent injury to his fellow Marines. By his indomitable courage, outstanding leadership and selfless efforts in behalf of his comrades, Staff Sergeant Kennemore was greatly instrumental in driving the enemy from the area and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


The Medal of Honor was presented to Staff Sergeant Robert Sidney Kennemore by President Harry S. Truman during ceremonies at the White House on 24 November 1952. He was the 23rd Marine to receive his nation's highest award for heroism in Korea.

Other Medals and Awards

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Kennemore was awarded the following:

Purple Heart
Presidential Unit Citation with 2 Bronze Stars
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp
Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
United Nations Service Medal


The Marine Corps League Detachment #1105 in Greenville, SC, the Owens/Kennemore Detachment, is named for the two Greenville Medal of Honor recipients - Robert Kennemore and World War II recipient, Robert A. Owens.

Death and Burial

Staff Sergeant Kennemore died on 26 April 1989. He is buried at the San Francisco National Cemetery in San Francisco, CA.

Honoree ID: 1185   Created by: MHOH




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