Medal of Honor Recipient
David Bruce Bleak
David Bruce Bleak was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 27 1953 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a ceremony at the White House.
Born in Idaho Falls, ID, 27 February 1932
Died 23 March 2006. His ashes were scattered near Arco, ID. A Cenotaph is located in Lost Creek Cemetery, Moore, Idaho.
The 7th of nine children in his family, David Bleak grew to a height of 6.5 feet tall and weighed 250 pounds. He was described by his family as being humble and quiet throughout his life. He dropped out of high school and worked for a time on railroads, farms and ranches before enlisting in the US Army on November 1, 1950. Trained as a medic and assigned to the 40th Infantry Division he shipped out to Korea in January 1952, and he and his unit were assigned to a mountainous area along the 38th parallel. Duty assignments were characterized by trench warfare with continued battles over the same ground producing high casualties. David was known as a fearless man devoted to the welfare of his men.
His deeds that won him the MOH were beyond heroic, reported here:
On 14 June 1952, Bleak was part of a patrol of the 2nd Battalion, 223rd Infantry Regiment, sent north to probe enemy forward positions and attempt to obtain prisoners of war for interrogation. Bleak volunteered to accompany the 20-man patrol on their mission up a sparsely vegetated Hill #499. As the patrol ascended the hill near dusk, it came under heavy enemy fire which injured several of Bleak’s patrol. Bleak immediately treated and stabilized several soldiers. As the unit continued their advance, several Chinese soldiers from a nearby trench opened fire, injuring another of the patrol. According to witness reports, Bleak rushed the trench, diving into it and tackling one Chinese soldier, killing him. Bleak was then confronted by two more of the enemy, killing them both in hand to hand fighting.
Bleak then returned to the main patrol and within minutes, a Chinese hand grenade bounced off of the helmet of a soldier standing next to him. Bleak swiftly tackled and fell upon the man covering him with his larger frame to protect him from the grenade; miraculously, neither was injured in the ensuing blast. As the patrol resumed their descent, other Chinese hidden in a trench opened fire on them. Three more American soldiers were wounded and as Bleak ran to them, he too was hit in the leg. In spite of this, he dressed the wounds of his injured men, but found one of them too critically injured to continue on. Under continued Chinese fire, and in spite of his own injury, Bleak picked up his wounded comrade and began to carry him back down the hill.
With the wounded soldier on his shoulders, Bleak was confronted directly by two more enemy troops. Putting his comrade on the ground, Bleak charged the enemy soldiers, smashing their heads together with such force that he may have fractured their skulls before pushing them out of his way. All 20 men of the patrol somehow got back to the UN lines with a third of them wounded.
Sgt. Bleak’s Medal of Honor Citation is found on the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Website. To view it, click on this address >>> http://bit.ly/1dQHqOV
Medal of Honor Recipient (Posthumously awarded)
James Edwin Johnson
Born January 1, 1926 in Pocatello, Idaho
Died December 2, 1950 at Chosin Reservoir in North Korea
After leaving high school in 1943, James joined the U.S. Marines Corps on November 10. Trained in Camp Pendleton, he participated in two World War II Pacific combat campaigns at Peleliu and Okinawa with the 11th Marine Regiment (the same regiment his father was in during World War I). Discharged February 7, 1946, James Johnson returned home to work as a machinist in Pocatello’s Naval Ordnance plant until attending Western Washington College, Bellingham. He next re-enlisted with the Marine Corps and was assigned to Quantico, VA, where he met his wife-to-be Mary Jeanne. Serving as an instructor at the Marine Corps Institute, Marine Barracks, in Washington, DC until the outbreak of the Korean War, his next and final assignment was with a special Marine unit in Korea, departing from the states in August 1950, just five days after the birth of his daughter, Stephanie.
Sgt. Johnson fought in the Incheon landing and participated in the battle to recapture Seoul from the North Korean Army. From there he was sent to fight in sub zero conditions in the Chosin Reservoir campaign in N. Korea where on December 2, he sacrificed his life when voluntarily staying behind to cover the men of his platoon who had been ordered to withdraw. When last seen by his comrades he was wounded, but continued to engage the enemy in close grenade and hand-to-hand combat. He was never seen again, his remains never recovered. His heroic actions led to the Congressional Medal of Honor, posthumously awarded, given to his widow Mary Jeanne Johnson on March 29, 1954 in Washington DC by Navy Secretary Robert D. Anderson, in the presence of his daughter, Stephanie, mother Mrs. Juanita Hart and his sister Mrs. Edwin Hanke.
James E. Johnson’s name is engraved on the Wall of the Missing at the National Memorial, Honolulu, HI. A memorial marker in his honor is located at Arlington National Cemetery. On November 30, 1984, a street at Camp Pendleton, CA was named for Sgt. James E. Johnson.
To view Sgt. Johnson’s Medal of Honor Citation on the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Website, click on the following address >>>> http://bit.ly/15YGV4q
MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT
PFC HERBERT A LITTLETON
Born July 1, 1930, Mena AR
KIA April 22, 1951
Burial Location: Kohlerlawn Cemetery, Nampa, ID
“Hal, as he was called by his family, attended high school in Sturgis, SD, and immediately afterward enlisted in the Marines Corps for one year. Moving to Nampa, ID after his discharge, he worked for Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph as a lineman and soon married the love of his life, Barbara Sawyer, a student nurse in Nampa. His family reported after his death, that at that time in his life, he was a happy, loving and polite young man with an infectious smile When the Korean War started, he re-enlisted in the Marines and took training at Camp Pendleton. Sent to Korea, on December 3, 1950, he was assigned to I Battery, 3rd BN, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marines, and worked on a forward observation team, carrying a 65 lb .619 radio into combat both in freezing weather and then in the mud and rain of Spring 1951. On the night of April 22, on Hill 44 of the Quantico Line, his unit of 4 men was attacked. Seeing an incoming grenade, he fell upon it saving the lives of his 3 comrades. For his self-sacrifice, PFC Littleton was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Other recognition and honors he has received are: 1.) The #1261 Marine Detachment in Mena, AR, is named after him; 2.) the Marine Corps yearly gives three awards bearing his name for excellence in communications; 3.) the City of Nampa, ID renamed its main Post Office in his honor; 4.) A memorial park in Spearfish, SD, today carries his name; 5.) in 1998, the Marine Corps Electronics School mess hall in Twenty-nine Palms was named after him; 6.) in 2009, the governor of Arkansas, Mike Bebee proclaimed September 12 of that year as Herbert A. Littleton Day.”*
*Excerpted from a Remembrance of H.A. Littleton by T E Moore on the Korean War Project’s website. To view his Medal of Honor Citation, click on this link >>>> http://bit.ly/11al74e
Medal of Honor Recipient
Reginald R. Myers
The Medal of Honor was awarded him by President Harry S. Truman in the White House on October 29, 1951.
Born Boise ID Nov 26, 1919
Died October 23, 2005
Burial at Arlington National Cemetery
A career Marine, Reginald R. Myers had participated in the World War II invasions of Guadalcanal, the Marshall Islands and Okinawa before serving as a major in the Korean War with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines Division in 1950-51, participating in the Inchon invasion and later assigned to defend a mount overlooking an American base at Hagaru-ri, near the infamous Chosin Reservoir at a time when Chinese forces outnumbered those of the United States by thousands. Major Myers gathered some 250 dispirited soldiers — cooks, clerks and mechanics included — and embarked upon a steep nighttime ascent of the icy East Hill. The Chinese fired on them with machine guns as they climbed in temperatures that fell to 23 degrees below zero. Only 80 Marines, including Myers, reached the summit where they fought an arduous and ultimately successful battle. After being wounded in another action, Myers shipped back to the U.S. in 1951 where he continued to serve in various locations, over time rising to the rank of colonel and eventually serving as Executive Officer to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G–L. Colonel Myers retired from active duty in the Marine Corps on May 1, 1967
See Colonel Myers MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION at this link: http://bit.ly/1b9iciB
Medal of Honor Recipient
Daniel Dwaine Schoonover
Born Oct 8, 1933, Boise, Idaho . . . KIA July 10, 1953, 2nd Battle of Pork Chop Hill, Dan was killed just one day before all U S forces were ordered off that murderous hill because, as our I Corps commanding general said, “The outpost is no longer worth defending at the cost of so many of our troop’s lives.” I’ve often asked, why didn’t the commanding general issue that order one or two days earlier?
The leader of his squad, Dan sacrificed his life when he stayed behind to lay down covering machine gun fire for his men whom he had ordered to run for their lives from an onrushing Chinese attack. Dan’s men begged him to leave with them, but he refused—shouting that they had girlfriends, wives and kids to go back home to, while he did not. His remains were never found. Posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, Corporal Schoonover’s name is engraved on a handsome memorial (see picture below) at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii. A cenotaph (empty tomb) is located at Morris Hill Cemetery, Boise, Idaho.
Photo courtesy of Richard A. White*
The following is a moving remembrance found on the Korean War Project’s website, written by *Dan Schoonover’s platoon leader in Korea, Richard W. White 2nd Lt 3rd Platoon A Co, 13th Eng. BN. (C) 7th Inf Div.
“I was Dan Schoonover’s platoon leader in Korea. There are many reasons why I particularly remember Dan. While there were many wounded in combat, Dan was the only man in the platoon killed in action while I was there. He is surely remembered for his courage, above and beyond the call of duty, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor . . . Mostly though, I remember Dan Schoonover for who he was. There are many whose names and faces fade from memory. Dan was the exception. He was that soldier that knew everybody and everybody knew and liked him. There are incidents in our lives that leave an indelible mark. Things that are as fresh today as they were fifty years ago. One such incident, in my mind, was the day the entire Company was assembled, after the action on Pork Chop Hill, and the roll called. As the name was called of someone that had been wounded and evacuated, someone in the ranks would shout out, he was sent to Japan, or he’s in the hospital. When the First Sgt. called out Schoonover, Dan…Schoonover, Dan…Schoonover, Dan. The silence was numbing, as everyone there knew what had happened. It was almost as if it were a silent tribute to Dan. While at that time we all just stood there and showed no outward emotion, I can now, unashamedly, weep for Dan. May God keep you, Dan.”
Click here to view Dan’s MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION