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First Name: John

Last Name: Kilmer

Birthplace: Highland Park, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: Houston, TX
Middle Name: Edward

Date of Birth: 15 August 1930

Date of Death: 13 August 1952

Rank or Rate: Hospitalman

Years Served: 1947 - 1952
John Edward Kilmer

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


John Edward Kilmer
Hospitalman, U.S. Navy
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

John Edward Kilmer was born on 15 August 1930 at Highland Park, IL. Kilmer quit high school at seventeen to enlist in the Navy on 16 August 1947 at Houston, TX. He enlisted as an Apprentice Seaman, and attended Hospital Corps School, San Diego, CA. After graduation in April 1948, he advanced in rank to Hospitalman Apprentice, and then Hospitalman on 1 September 1950.

Kilmer was assigned to the hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16) when war broke out in Korea. His enlistment term expired in August 1951, but he soon re-joined the Navy. After running afoul of a superior, Kilmer chose to be transferred to the Fleet Marine Force. After completing instruction at the Field Medical School at Camp Pendleton, CA, he joined the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, Fleet Marine Forces.

On 12 August 1952, Kilmer took part in the attack on "Bunker Hill" in Korea. He attended to the wounded during the battle and was himself mortally wounded after using his body to shield another man from enemy fire. For this heroic action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Hospital Corpsman, U.S. Navy, attached to duty as a medical corpsman with a Marine rifle company in the 1st Marine Division.

Place and date: Korea, 13 August 1952


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces. With his company engaged in defending a vitally important hill position well forward of the main line of resistance during an assault by large concentrations of hostile troops, HC Kilmer repeatedly braved intense enemy mortar, artillery, and sniper fire to move from 1 position to another, administering aid to the wounded and expediting their evacuation. Painfully wounded himself when struck by mortar fragments while moving to the aid of a casualty, he persisted in his efforts and inched his way to the side of the stricken marine through a hail of enemy shells falling around him. Undaunted by the devastating hostile fire, he skillfully administered first aid to his comrade and, as another mounting barrage of enemy fire shattered the immediate area, unhesitatingly shielded the wounded man with his body. Mortally wounded by flying shrapnel while carrying out this heroic action, HC Kilmer, by his great personal valor and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in saving the life of a comrade, served to inspire all who observed him. His unyielding devotion to duty in the face of heavy odds reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for another.

On 18 June 1953, Hospitalman Kilmer's mother, Lois Kilmer, was presented with her son's Medal of Honor by Secretary of the Navy Robert Bernard Anderson.

Death and Burial

John Edward Kilmer was killed in action on 13 August 1952. He is buried at San Jose Burial Park in San Antonio, TX.

Honoree ID: 1186   Created by: MHOH




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