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First Name: Richard

Last Name: Wilson

Birthplace: Marion, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Cape Girardeau, MO
Middle Name: Gene

Date of Birth: 19 August 1931

Date of Death: 21 October 1950

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1948 - 1950
Richard Gene Wilson

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Richard G. Wilson
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Richard Gene Wilson was born on 19 August 1931, to Bert and Alice Wilson in Marion, IL. He grew up in Cape Girardeau, MO, with six brothers and sisters. He boxed in the Golden Gloves and played football at Central High School. On 19 August 1948-his 17th birthday-he enlisted in the U.S. Army and reported to Fort Sam Houston, TX, where he was trained as a combat medic. Before beginning his service, Wilson married Yvonna Lea Fowler.

He volunteered for Airborne School and was assigned to Fort Campbell, KY, as a medic in the 11th Airborne Division.

When the Korean War began in June 1950, Wilson's unit was informed they would soon be moving in that direction. He received a final weekend home over the Fourth of July, then returned to Fort Campbell and was soon in Korea.

For Private First Class Richard G. Wilson's heroic actions on 21 October 1950, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company I, Medical Company, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment

Place and date: Opari, Korea, 21 October 1950

G.O. No.: 64, 2 August 1951


Pfc. Wilson distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. As medical aid man attached to Company I, he accompanied the unit during a reconnaissance in force through the hilly country near Opari. The main body of the company was passing through a narrow valley flanked on 3 sides by high hills when the enemy laid down a barrage of mortar, automatic-weapons and small-arms fire. The company suffered a large number of casualties from the intense hostile fire while fighting its way out of the ambush. Pfc. Wilson proceeded at once to move among the wounded and administered aid to them oblivious of the danger to himself, constantly exposing himself to hostile fire. The company commander ordered a withdrawal as the enemy threatened to encircle and isolate the company. As his unit withdrew Private Wilson assisted wounded men to safety and assured himself that none were left behind. After the company had pulled back he learned that a comrade previously thought dead had been seen to be moving and attempting to crawl to safety. Despite the protests of his comrades, unarmed and facing a merciless enemy, Pfc. Wilson returned to the dangerous position in search of his comrade. Two days later a patrol found him lying beside the man he returned to aid. He had been shot several times while trying to shield and administer aid to the wounded man. Pfc. Wilson's superb personal bravery, consummate courage and willing self-sacrifice for his comrades reflect untold glory upon himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of the military service.

Medals, Awards & Badges

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Combat Medical Badge


Several U.S. military buildings have been named in his honor, including:

Richard G. Wilson Memorial Gymnasium in the Kanoka Barracks near Osaka, Japan;

Richard G. Wilson U.S. Army Reserve Center in Marion, IL;

PFC Richard G. Wilson Training Barracks at Fort Sam Houston, TX, in 1986;

Richard G. Wilson Consolidated Troop Medical Clinic in Fort Leonard Wood, MO; and the

Wilson Theater at Fort Campbell, KY.

Among the memorials in his honor are:

"America's Medical Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen in Peace and War" by Eloise Engle, 1967.

A memorial to Wilson in Cape County Park, 1988.

Other structures named for him include:

Richard G. Wilson Elementary School in Fort Benning, GA.

The Postal Distribution Center in Cape Girardeau, MO, dedicated in 2004.

Death and Burial

Private First Class Richard G. Wilson was killed in action on 21 October 1950. He is buried at Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, MO.

Honoree ID: 1255   Created by: MHOH




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