Michigan, Illinois Medal of Honor recipients recognized with MOH flags

21 Sep 2006 |

A Medal of Honor recipient and the son of a deceased Medal of Honor recipient were presented with Medal of Honor flags recently in Michigan and Illinois.

Public Law legislated the creation of a Medal of Honor Flag for presentation to each person to
whom a Medal of Honor is awarded after the date of the enactment, Oct. 23,
2002. The flag commemorates the sacrifice and blood shed for freedom, and gives emphasis to
the Medal of Honor being the highest award for valor by an individual serving in
the Armed Forces of the United States. On 15 December 2004, the design, submitted by Sarah
LeClerc, illustrator at The Institute of Heraldry, was approved: a light blue flag with gold
fringe bearing thirteen white stars in a configuration as on the Medal of Honor
ribbon.

The Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations East, Maj. Gen. Robert Dickerson,
presented the Medal of Honor Flag to Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Duane E.
Dewey, a Muskegon, Mich., native, at the American Veterans post in Baldwin, Mich., Sept. 21.

Dewey, the first person to receive the Medal of Honor from President Dwight D.
Eisenhower, earned the nation’s highest award for heroism on April 16, 1952.

While serving as leader of a machine gun squad with Company E, 5th Marines, 1st Marine
Division near Panmunjon, Korea. He had been wounded; and was being treated by a Navy corpsman
when an enemy grenade landed at the squad’s position. Yanking the corpsman to the ground, and
warning members of the squad, Cpl. Dewey flung himself on the grenade shouting, “Doc, I got it
in my hip pocket!”

Suffering critical injuries, he was evacuated to Japan and later to the United States for
treatment, where he was released from active duty on Aug. 19, 1952. After presenting the award
on March 12, 1953, at the White House, President Eisenhower told him, “You must have a body of
steel.”

Dewey was born on Nov. 16,  1931, in Grand Rapids, Mich., and attended school in Muskegon,
Mich., until 1947. He then worked for six months on a farm in South Haven, Mich., and for a
year as a foundry worker at National Motors, Inc. in South Haven.

Enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve on March 7, 1951, he completed recruit training at
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., and underwent intensive combat training at
Camp Pendleton, Calif., before embarking for Korea in September 1951. Before he was wounded,
he had participated in the United Nations summer – fall offensive of 1951 and the second
winter of Korean fighting.

In addition to receiving the Medal of Honor, Dewey’s awards include the Purple
Heart, the Korean Service Medal with two battle stars, and the United Nations Service Medal.

Lt. Gen. Richard S. Kramlich, Deputy Commandant of Installations and Logistics, presented the
Medal of Honor flag to the son of the late Master Gunnery Sgt. Richard E. Bush, who was
presented the Medal of Honor Oct. 4, 1945, by President Harry S. Truman. The
flag presentation took place at the United Service Organizations office inside O’Hare
International Airport, Chicago, Sept. 27.

“It’s a nationally acknowledged gesture that recognizes sacrifices – in many cases, supreme
sacrifices – for heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty,” said Kramlich.

“I know my dad would be proud if he was here right now,” Bush said.

“The Marine Corps is steeped in tradition, understanding the legacy of those that went before
us,” said Kramlich. “It’s important for us to live up to that. There is no greater symbolism
of heroism and valor than the Medal of Honor.”

Bush was born in Glasgow, Ky., Dec. 23, 1924. Before his enlistment in the Marine Corps on
Sept. 22, 1942, in Bowling Green, Ky., he worked for his father as a tractor driver and
completed one year of high school.

He received his basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and later was
transferred to a replacement battalion at Camp Elliott, Calif., for further training as an
armorer. He later served with the highly decorated Marine Corps Raiders in the Pacific.

On April 16, 1945, while serving as squad leader for 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 6th Marine
Division, Bush, then a corporal, led his men in a charge against an enemy stronghold during
the final assault against Mount Yaetake in northern Okinawa.

During that action, he ignored his own wounds until ordered to seek treatment. While in the
makeshift medical camp, Bush threw himself on an enemy grenade that had been hurled among the
medical staff and other wounded Marines. Bush survived his severe wounds, losing several
fingers and the sight in one eye.

On Oct. 4, 1945, President Harry S. Truman, in a White House ceremony, presented Bush with the
Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and
beyond the call of duty.” He also was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received on
Okinawa.

In the years following the war, Bush worked for the Veterans Administration as a counselor and
earned numerous civilian awards for his efforts to aid other veterans.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Bush died of a heart ailment at the age of 79 on June 7, 2004 in
Waukegan, Ill.

The first Medal of Honor flag presentations took place Aug. 3, 2005, at Marine Barracks,
Washington, D.C., when the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, and the
Sergeant Major John L. Estrada, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, presented the flags to
sixteen living Medal of Honor recipients and 10 family members of deceased
recipients.

9th Marine Corps District