Thursday, April 05, 2012

TFH 4/5: HN Richard David De Wert, USN

Richard David De Wert was born on November 17, 1931 in Taunton, MA. He enlisted in the United States Navy in December 1948 and received training as a hospital corpsman. He served at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, VA until July 1950 when he joined the Fleet Marine Force.

During the Korean War, he landed with the 1st Marine Division at both Inchon and Wonsan, as well as caring for the wounded during the Chosin Reservoir campaign. On April 5, 1951, while posted to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, an attack against Chinese Communist forces saw De Wert ignore his own wounds as he did everything in his ability to live up to the corpsmen's motto: Until they are home, no man left behind. He gave our Nation his life, and our Nation recognized his valor with its highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War:


Rank and organization: Hospital Corpsman, U.S. Navy. Hospital Corpsman attached to Marine infantry company, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Korea, 5 April 1951. Entered service at: Taunton, Mass. Birth: Taunton, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a HC, in action against enemy aggressor forces. When a fire team from the point platoon of his company was pinned down by a deadly barrage of hostile automatic weapons fired and suffered many casualties, HC Dewert 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 fireswept 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 HC Dewert and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Richard De Wert, age 19 at his death, rests in peace in the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, MA.

The Marine unit he served with, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, still relies on Navy hospital corpsmen to care for their medical needs in and out of combat. They are based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, CA.

On November 19, 1983 - two days after what would have been Richard De Wert's 52nd birthday - the Navy accepted into commission the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS De Wert (FFG-45). The ship was christened by one of De Wert's cousins. The De Wert serves with the Atlantic Fleet and carries the name of this brave American hero to the world from her home port of Mayport, FL. Last September, the De Wert was involved in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia, and is credited with rescuing at least one ship from pirates' clutches.

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