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First Name: Donald

Last Name: Truesdale

Birthplace: Lugoff, SC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Leroy

Date of Birth: 08 August 1906

Date of Death: 21 September 1993

Rank: Chief Warrant Officer - 2

Years Served: 1924 - 1946
Donald Leroy Truesdale

•  Occupation of Nicaragua (1912 - 1933)


Donald Leroy Truesdale
Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient

Donald Leroy Truesdale (born Truesdell) was born on 8 August 1906 at Lugoff, SC. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in November 1924 and served under that name before officially changing his last name to "Truesdale." He was a Marine Corporal who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Occupation of Nicaragua. He attempted to throw away a rifle grenade that had fallen and was ready to detonate; the resulting explosion caused the loss of his right arm. He later attained the rank of Commissioned Warrant Officer.

Corporal Truesdale was also a Lieutenant in the Nicaraguan National Guard. Because the Marines provided all the training for the Nicaraguan National Guard, it was not uncommon for a U.S. Marine non-commissioned officer to serve as an officer in that organization.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps

Place and date: Vicinity Constancia near Coco River, northern Nicaragua, 24 April 1932


Cpl. Truesdale was second in command of a Guardia Nacional Patrol in active operations against armed bandit forces in the vicinity of Constancia, near Coco River, northern Nicaragua, on 24 April 1932. While the patrol was in formation on the trail searching for a bandit group with which contact had just previously been made, a rifle grenade fell from its carrier and struck a rock, igniting the detonator. Several men close to the grenade at the time were in danger. Cpl. Truesdale, who was several yards away, could easily have sought cover and safety for himself. Knowing full well the grenade would explode within 2 or 3 seconds, he rushed for the grenade, grasped it in his right hand, and attempted to throw it away from the patrol. The grenade exploded in his hand, blowing it off and inflicting serious multiple wounds about his body. Cpl. Truesdale, in taking the full shock of the explosion himself, saved the members of the patrol from loss of life or serious injury.

Later Military Service

Although Truesdale lost his right arm, he continued to serve with the Marine Corps until his retirement as a Commissioned Warrant Officer in May 1946, after 21 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Other Medals

Purple Heart
Nicaraguan Cross of Valor


Donald married Gladys Garrity on 1 November 1941, at Quantico, VA. On 9 July 1944, Jeffery Truesdale was born at Camp Lejeune, NC. Altogether, Donald and Gladys raised six children.

Posthumous Honors

On 19 May 2004, Donald Truesdale was given a posthumous memorial by the South Carolina General Assembly.

"Whereas, the members of the General Assembly, by this resolution, would like to publicly recognize and honor the memory of the late Donald Leroy Truesdale, this brave and courageous son of South Carolina for his extraordinary heroism in the defense of our country and her ideals which epitomizes the very best of what America stands for. Now, therefore, Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the members of the General Assembly commend the extraordinary heroism of the late Donald Leroy Truesdale who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor, which is the highest award that can be bestowed upon a member of the armed forces of the United States.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the family of the late Donald Leroy Truesdale."

The James Leroy Belk Post 17, American Legion, of which Donald Truesdale was a member for 50 years, unveiled a monument to honor this hero of Kershaw County. The ceremony took place in Quaker Cemetery's Little Arlington where fellow Medal of Honor winners Richmond Hobson Hilton and John C. Villepigue are honored, along with the "Angel of Marye's Heights," Richard Kirkland.

Speaker Baxley then asked Donald Truesdale's wife, Gladys, of Lugoff, and Jeffrey Truesdale, his son, of Charleston, to come forward for the marker's unveiling.

Jeffrey Truesdale spoke on behalf of the family and said: "As we get older and reflect on how some of today's soldiers go off to service and come back complaining, I remember that my father never did that," said Truesdale. "He did what he had to do without question. Later in life, he met with dignitaries and with the military on aircraft carriers. They would salute him, and that made him uncomfortable. He didn't like the spotlight."

The U.S. Military Budget for 2010 contains a Zumwalt-class destroyer, USS Donald L. Truesdale (DDG-1003). It appears that it would be put in service in 2016.

Death and Burial

Donald Leroy "Truesdell" Truesdale died on 21 September 1993, at Lugoff, SC. He is buried at Saint John's Methodist Cemetery in Lugoff, Kershaw County, SC, in the Truesdell Family plot.

Honoree ID: 1975   Created by: MHOH




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