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First Name: Albert

Last Name: Schwab

Birthplace: Washington, DC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Earnest

Date of Birth: 17 July 1920

Date of Death: 07 May 1945

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1944-1945
Albert Earnest Schwab

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Albert Earnest Schwab

Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Private First Class Albert Earnest Schwab (17 July 1920 - 7 May 1945) was a U.S. Marine who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

Albert Earnest Schwab was born on 17 July 1920 in Washington, DC. The family moved to Tulsa, OK, early in his life. He attended the local schools, graduating from Tulsa High School in 1937. After one semester at Tulsa University, the young athlete went to work for an oil company.

Inducted into the Marine Corps on 12 May 1944, he was sent to recruit training in San Diego, CA. His boot leave of ten days was the only time his family was to see him in the Marine uniform. After his furlough, the former oil worker went to the 2nd Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, CA. In November, Private Schwab was transferred to the 13th Replacement Draft and on 12 November 1944 departed for overseas duty aboard the USS Wharton (AP-7). He joined the 1st Marine Division at Pavuvu Island, in the Russells, and was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. On 24 December 1944, Schwab was promoted to Private First Class and in February 1945, he and his division embarked for maneuvers which eventually led to an enemy landing on the shores of Okinawa, Japan, on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1945.

Private First Class Schwab was a flame-thrower operator with Headquarters Company. When that company was pinned down in a valley on 7 May by the withering fire of a machine gun coming from a ridge high to the company's front, he scaled the cliff in the face of the devastating fire and attacked the gun with his flame thrower. Quickly demolishing the position and its crew, his company was able to occupy the ridge. Suddenly, a second machine gun opened fire inflicting more casualties on the unit. Although he had not had time to replenish his supply of fuel, PFC Schwab unhesitatingly advanced on the second gun and succeeded in eliminating it before its final burst caught him in the left hip, inflicting fatal wounds. For his act of heroism he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a flamethrower operator in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Rykuyu Islands, 7 May 1945. Quick to take action when his company was pinned down in a valley and suffered resultant heavy casualties under blanketing machinegun fire emanating from a high ridge to the front, Pfc. Schwab, unable to flank the enemy emplacement because of steep cliffs on either side, advanced up the face of the ridge in bold defiance of the intense barrage and, skillfully directing the fire of his flamethrower, quickly demolished the hostile gun position, thereby enabling his company to occupy the ridge. Suddenly a second enemy machinegun opened fire, killing and wounding several marines with its initial bursts. Estimating with split-second decision the tactical difficulties confronting his comrades, Pfc. Schwab elected to continue his 1-man assault despite a diminished supply of fuel for his flamethrower. Cool and indomitable, he moved forward in the face of a direct concentration of hostile fire, relentlessly closed the enemy position and attacked. Although severely wounded by a final vicious blast from the enemy weapon, Pfc. Schwab had succeeded in destroying 2 highly strategic Japanese gun positions during a critical stage of the operation and, by his dauntless, single-handed efforts, had materially furthered the advance of his company. His aggressive initiative, outstanding valor and professional skill throughout the bitter conflict sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

The Medal of Honor was presented to PFC Schwab's three-year-old son at Boulder Park in Tulsa, OK, on Memorial Day 1946 by Rear Admiral J.J. Clark, USN, Commander of the Naval Air Basic Training Command, Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart


• On 3 October 1959, a Marine camp constructed on Okinawa was named Camp Schwab in honor of the heroic Marine.

• The American Legion Post 555 in Midway City, CA, is named in honor of PFC Schwab.

• The Marine Corps League detachment 857 in Schwab's hometown of Tulsa, OK, is the "Albert E. Schwab" detachment.

• An exhibit in Schwab's honor was erected at Tulsa International Airport, and the Albert E. Schwab Marine Corps League Detachment is now raising funds to erect a statue of him there.

Death and Burial

Private First Class Albert Earnest Schwab was killed in action on 7 May 1945. Schwab's body was returned to the United States and buried with full military honors at Memorial Park in Tulsa, OK, on 27 February 1949.

Honoree ID: 1637   Created by: MHOH




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