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First Name: Carlton

Last Name: Rouh

Birthplace: Lindenwold, NJ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Robert

Date of Birth: 11 May 1919

Date of Death: 08 December 1977

Rank: Captain

Years Served:
Carlton Robert Rouh

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Carlton Robert Rouh

Captain, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Captain Carlton Robert Rouh (11 May 1919 - 8 December 1977) was a U.S. Marine who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions on Peleliu Island during World War II.

Carlton Robert Rouh was born on 11 May 1919 in Lindenwold, NJ. Carlton Rouh enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Private one month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and fought in three Pacific campaigns. At Guadalcanal, then a private, he earned the Silver Star Medal "for carrying wounded out under fire until wounded himself." Moreover, "for outstanding leadership and initiative in combat," he was given a field commission as a Second Lieutenant while at a rest camp in Australia. He commanded a machine gun platoon during the New Britain campaign. He had been promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant prior to his honored actions on Peleliu.

On 15 September 1944 on Peleliu Island, First Lieutenant Rouh had been moving his mortar platoon near the top of a small coral ridge in preparation for digging in for the night, according to a field dispatch from SSgt James F. Moser, Jr., a Marine Corps Combat Correspondent. 1stLt Rouh decided to inspect an apparently empty Japanese dugout before permitting his men to use it.

A few minutes before, a flame-throwing squad had blasted fire into the position. Near the entrance, two of the enemy lay dead. 1stLt Rouh could hear nothing. He stepped over the pair, and into the dark interior, his carbine ready. Creeping along the wall, he could see stores of supplies. He saw no life. Suddenly a shot rang out, hitting him in the left side. He stumbled back to his men outside. Several Japanese followed, throwing grenades. Fragments filled the air. One grenade landed close to him and two of his men. There was no escape, for the Japanese had held it too long to be thrown back.

Despite his weakened condition, 1stLt Rouh shoved his two comrades to the ground to save them from flying fragments. He dropped his carbine and dove for the grenade. He was down on his elbows and one knee when the grenade exploded. His abdomen and chest caught the blast, and he sank to the ground. None of his men were hit. Still conscious, 1stLt Rouh could half hear and see the rest of the fight. Tommy gun rounds rang out, killing the remaining Japanese survivors. One of his men stood over him. Soon it was all over - and his Marines had their cover for the night.

First Lieutenant Rouh's body was pock-marked by the grenade blast. One steel fragment had passed through his left lung and lodged near his heart. Other fragments sprayed his chest, left side and left arm. Still under enemy artillery and mortar fire, he was given first aid by a passing doctor, and was carried back to a casualty evacuation point. "That was a miserable trip back," he said. "I thought they would get all the men with me. But somehow we made it." For his heroism, Rouh was awarded the Medal of Honor.

[During World War II, 27 Marines similarly used their bodies to cover grenades in order to save the lives of others. Four of these brave Marines survived - Rouh and fellow Medal of Honor recipients Richard E. Bush, Richard K. Sorenson, and Jacklyn H. Lucas.]

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division.

Place and date: Peleliu Island, Palau group, 15 September 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu Island, Palau group, 15 September 1944. Before permitting his men to use an enemy dugout as a position for an 81-mm. mortar observation post, 1st Lt. Rouh made a personal reconnaissance of the pillbox and, upon entering, was severely wounded by Japanese rifle fire from within. Emerging from the dugout, he was immediately assisted by 2 marines to a less exposed area but, while receiving first aid, was further endangered by an enemy grenade which was thrown into their midst. Quick to act in spite of his weakened condition, he lurched to a crouching position and thrust both men aside, placing his own body between them and the grenade and taking the full blast of the explosion himself. His exceptional spirit of loyalty and self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death reflects the highest credit upon 1st Lt. Rouh and the U.S. Naval Service.

Following his evacuation from Peleliu, he was hospitalized, and later honorably retired from active duty. He was promoted to Captain in the Reserves upon his retirement.

He served as mayor of Lindenwold, NJ, for one year in 1977.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart

Death and Burial

Captain Carlton Robert Rouh died on 8 December 1977 in Camden, NJ. He is buried at Berlin Cemetery in Berlin, Camden County, NJ, in Track 4, Section 5, Block O, Lot 6.

Honoree ID: 1625   Created by: MHOH




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