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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Simanek

Birthplace: Detroit, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Detroit, MI
Middle Name: Ernest

Date of Birth: 26 April 1930

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1951-1953
Robert Ernest Simanek

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Robert Ernest Simanek
Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Robert Ernest Simanek (born 26 April 1930) is a former United States Marine and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Korean War.

Robert Ernest Simanek was born on 26 April 1930, in Detroit, MI. He graduated from high school there in 1948 and worked for the Ford Motor Company and General Motors before he was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps on 13 August 1951.

Completing recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, in October 1951, he was ordered to Camp Pendleton, CA, the following month. After further training at Camp Pendleton, he sailed for Korea in April 1952, joining Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines on 6 May 1952. He had earned two battle stars by the time of his Medal of Honor action.

Simanek was serving with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, First Marine Division, when the action that led his Medal of Honor occurred on 18 August 1952. His patrol had gone well forward of friendly lines to occupy an outpost when the Marines ran into a trap. He threw himself on an enemy grenade to save his comrades, and was severely wounded in the legs.

Simanek received medical treatment aboard the hospital ship USSĀ Haven and in Japan before being returned to the United States in September 1952. He then was hospitalized at Mare Island, CA, and at Naval Station Great Lakes, IL, until he was placed on the temporary disability retired list on 1 March 1953.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.)

Place and date: Korea, 17 August 1952


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company F, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 17 August 1952. While accompanying a patrol en route to occupy a combat outpost forward of friendly lines, Private First Class Simanek exhibited a high degree of courage and resolute spirit of self- sacrifice in protecting the lives of his fellow Marines. With his unit ambushed by an intense concentration of enemy mortar and small-arms fire, and suffering heavy casualties he was forced to seek cover with the remaining members of the patrol in the near-by trench line. Determined to save his comrades when a hostile grenade was hurled into their midst, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and shielding his fellow Marines from serious injury or death. Gravely wounded as a result of his heroic action Private First Class Simanek, by his daring initiative and great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a White House ceremony on 27 October 1953. He was the 36th Marine to receive the Medal in the Korean War.

Other Medals and Awards

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

Purple Heart
Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars
United Nations Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal

Honoree ID: 1236   Created by: MHOH




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