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Online Library of Selected Images:

Hospitalman Richard De Wert, USNR (1931-1951)

Richard De Wert was born on 17 November 1931 in Taunton, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1948. Following "boot camp" and Hospital Corps training at Great Lakes, Illinois, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia, during 1949-50. In July 1950, he joined the Fleet Marine Force and soon sailed for the Far East to take part in the Korean War. Landing with the First Marine Division at Inchon in September 1950, Hospitalman De Wert participated in operations to liberate the city of Seoul. During the rest of 1950, he was involved in the landings at Wonsan, the Chosin Reservoir Campaign and the Hungnam Evacuation.

In 1951 Hospitalman De Wert served with the Marines as they cleared North Korean guerrillas from rural areas of South Korea and as they helped drive the enemy beyond the Thirty-eighth Parallel. On 5 April 1951, while with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines during an attack on Chinese Communist forces, De Wert persistently, and in spite of his own wounds, moved through fire-swept ground to aid fallen Marines. He was killed in action while administering first aid to an injured comrade. For his great heroism on this occasion, Hospitalman Richard De Wert was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

USS De Wert (FFG-45) was named in honor of Hospitalman De Wert.

This page features our only view of Richard De Wert.

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the "Online Library's" digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: 80-G-442505

Richard De Wert, Hospitalman, USNR

Photographed circa 1949-50.
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in combat on 5 April 1951, while serving with the Seventh Marines in Korea.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 52KB; 475 x 765 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.


Medal of Honor citation of Hospitalman Richard De Wert (as printed in the 1964 Congressional publication "Medal of Honor Recipients --1863-1963", pages 745-46):

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman, attached to a Marine infantry company, 1st Marine Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 5 April 1951. When a fire team from the point platoon of his company was pinned down by a deadly barrage of hostile automatic weapons fire and suffered many casualties, De Wert rushed to the assistance of one of the more seriously wounded and, despite a painful leg wound sustained while dragging the stricken Marine to safety, steadfastly refused medical treatment for himself and immediately dashed back through the fire-swept area to carry a second wounded man out of the line of fire. Undaunted by the mounting hail of devastating enemy fire, he bravely moved forward a third time and received another serious wound in the shoulder after discovering that a wounded Marine had already died. Still persistent in his refusal to submit to first aid, he resolutely answered the call of a fourth stricken comrade and, while rendering medical assistance, was himself mortally wounded by a burst of enemy fire. His courageous initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the highest credit upon De Wert and enhance the finest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the "Online Library's" digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

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1 September 2000