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Robert Ernest Simanek
Robert E. Simanek, Medal of Honor recipient
Born April 26, 1930(1930-04-26) (age 88)
Place of birth Detroit, Michigan
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1951–1953
Rank Private First Class
Unit 2nd Battalion 5th Marines
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Head of a smiling white man wearing a suit, red tie, and a medal hanging from a blue ribbon around his neck

Simanek in 2010

Robert Ernest Simanek (born April 26, 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.


Simanek was born on April 26, 1930, in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from high school there in 1948 and worked for the Ford Motor Company and General Motors before he was inducted into the United States Marine Corps on August 13, 1951.[1]

Completing recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, in October 1951, he was ordered to Camp Pendleton, California, the following month. After further training at Camp Pendleton, he sailed for Korea in April 1952, joining Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines on May 6, 1952. He had earned two battle stars by the time of his Medal of Honor action.[1]

Simanek was serving with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, when the action occurred on August 18, 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.[1][2]

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

The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a White House ceremony on October 27, 1953. He was the 36th Marine to receive the medal in the Korean War.[1]

In addition to the Medal of Honor, he was also awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal with two bronze service stars, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.[1]

Awards and honorsEdit

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars Purple Heart BAR.svg
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze star
Bronze star
United Nations Service Medal Korea.png
Medal of Honor Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal Korean Service Medal w/ 2 service stars United Nations Korea Medal

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Simanek's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

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.[3]

See alsoEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

External linksEdit

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