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Robert M. McGovern
Medal of Honor U.S.Army.jpg
Medal of Honor recipient
Born 1928
Died January 30, 1951(1951-01-30)
Place of birth Washington, D.C.
Place of death Near Kamyangjan-ni, Korea
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1946 - 1951
Rank First Lieutenant
Unit Company A, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Robert Milton McGovern (1928 – January 30, 1951) was an officer in the United States Army during the Korean War. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on January 30, 1951.


McGovern was a Washington D.C. native and a 1946 graduate of St. John's College High School in the District. He joined the Army later that same year.[1]

He was hit and wounded as he and his platoon from the 5th Cavalry Regiment came under withering machine gun fire, But he continued up Hill 312, encouraging his men to meet and defeat the Chinese defense. His Medal of Honor recommendation was prepared for him at his men's insistence. His brother, Second Lieutenant Francis Jerome McGovern was also killed in action, eleven days later.

When his Medal of Honor was announced in January 1952, Robert's father, J. Halsey McGovern of Washington, created a stir when he refused to accept the award. He also refused to accept the Silver Star posthumously awarded to his second son, Jerome, a member of the 187th Airborne Regiment who was killed in action on February 10, 1951. The senior McGovern's refusal was based on his belief that medals were superfluous. He felt that they did not do justice to all of the heroes of the war in Korea and, as he told reporters, he did not feel that Truman "was fit to confer medals on anyone's sons."[2]

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company A, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division

Place and date: Near Kamyangjan-ni (a small hamlet east of Suwon), Korea, January 30, 1951

Entered service at: Washington, D.C. Birth: Washington, D.C. G.O. No.: 2, January 8, 1952. Citation:

1st Lt. McGovern, a member of Company A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. As 1st Lt. McGovern led his platoon up a slope to engage hostile troops entrenched in bunker-type pillboxes with connecting trenches, the unit came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire from the crest of the hill, approximately 75 yards distant. Despite a wound sustained in this initial burst of withering fire, 1st Lt. McGovern, assured the men of his ability to continue on and urged them forward. Forging up the rocky incline, he fearlessly led the platoon to within several yards of its objective when the ruthless foe threw and rolled a vicious barrage of hand grenades on the group and halted the advance. Enemy fire increased in volume and intensity and 1st Lt. McGovern realizing that casualties were rapidly increasing and the morale of his men badly shaken, hurled back several grenades before they exploded. Then, disregarding his painful wound and weakened condition he charged a machine gun emplacement which was raking his position with flanking fire. When he was within 10 yards of the position a burst of fire ripped the carbine from his hands, but, undaunted, he continued his lone-man assault and, firing his pistol and throwing grenades, killed 7 hostile soldiers before falling mortally wounded in front of the gun he had silenced. 1st Lt. McGovern's incredible display of valor imbued his men with indomitable resolution to avenge his death. Fixing bayonets and throwing grenades, they charged with such ferocity that hostile positions were overrun and the enemy routed from the hill. The inspirational leadership, unflinching courage, and intrepid actions of 1st Lt. McGovern reflected utmost glory on himself and the honored tradition of the military services.[3]


The U.S. Army named a camp after 1st Lt. McGovern in the Republic of Korea near Ungdam-ni in 1960.[4] It later named another camp after him, Camp McGovern, near the Brcko district, Bosnia.[5][6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. Service Profile
  2. Robert and Jerome McGovern URL retrieved December 16, 2006
  3. ""ROBERT M. MCGOVERN" entry". Medal of Honor recipients: Korean War. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  4. Denfeld, D. Colt (1997). American Military Camps in the Republic of Korea. 1866-1996. p.72: Pacific Bases Research. 
  5. NATO/SFOR Informer URL retrieved December 16, 2006
  6. 15th Infantry Regiment Newsletter, October 2000 URL retrieved December 16, 2006
  7. Brother visits camp named for war hero URL retrieved December 16, 2006


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

External linksEdit

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