Private First Class Robert L. Wilson, USMC, (1921-1944)
Robert Lee Wilson was born on 21 May 1920 in Centralia, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from that state in September 1941. Following recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, California, he went to the Pacific for combat duty against the Japanese. Between August 1942 and mid-1944, Wilson participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign, the bloody fight for Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands and the invasion of the Marianas. He also received promotion to Private First Class.
On 3 August 1944 Wilson was serving with the Second Battalion, Sixth Marines, Second Marine Division in combat on Tinian Island, Marianas Group. While advancing through heavy underbrush to neutralize Japanese resistance, an enemy grenade suddenly landed amid his group of Marines. Warning his comrades, Wilson threw himself on the grenade, sacrificing his life to save the others. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Robert L. Wilson is buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park, Centralia, Illinois.
USS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847), 1946-1980, was named in honor of Private First Class Robert L. Wilson.
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