Friday, October 26, 2012

TFH 10/26 Extra: Second Lieutenant Sherrod E. Skinner, Jr., USMCR

Sherrod E. Skinner, Jr. was born on October 28, 1929 in Hartford, Connecticut. He was a graduate of Harvard University and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps Reserve on October 9, 1951. He was ordered to active duty the following day.

After completing training as an artillery officer, Lieutenant Skinner was sent to war in Korea and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines. While acting as an artillery forward observer sixty years ago today on October 26, 1952 - just two days before his 23rd birthday - he gave his life for our Nation while shielding his comrades from a grenade blast after having valiantly led the defense of his position against a massive Communist assault. He was posthumously decorated with the Medal of Honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War:


Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Battery F, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Korea, 26 October 1952. Entered service at: East Lansing, Mich. Born: 29 October 1929, Hartford, Conn. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as an artillery forward observer of Battery F, in action against enemy aggressor forces on the night of 26 October 1952. When his observation post in an extremely critical and vital sector of the main line of resistance was subjected to a sudden and fanatical attack by hostile forces, supported by a devastating barrage of artillery and mortar fire which completely severed communication lines connecting the outpost with friendly firing batteries, 2d Lt. Skinner, in a determined effort to hold his position, immediately organized and directed the surviving personnel in the defense of the outpost, continuing to call down fire on the enemy by means of radio alone until his equipment became damaged beyond repair. Undaunted by the intense hostile barrage and the rapidly-closing attackers, he twice left the protection of his bunker in order to direct accurate machine gun fire and to replenish the depleted supply of ammunition and grenades. Although painfully wounded on each occasion, he steadfastly refused medical aid until the rest of the men received treatment. As the ground attack reached its climax, he gallantly directed the final defense until the meager supply of ammunition was exhausted and the position overrun. During the 3 hours that the outpost was occupied by the enemy, several grenades were thrown into the bunker which served as protection for 2d Lt. Skinner and his remaining comrades. Realizing that there was no chance for other than passive resistance, he directed his men to feign death even though the hostile troops entered the bunker and searched their persons. Later, when an enemy grenade was thrown between him and 2 other survivors, he immediately threw himself on the deadly missile in an effort to protect the others, absorbing the full force of the explosion and sacrificing his life for his comrades. By his indomitable fighting spirit, superb leadership, and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, 2d Lt. Skinner served to inspire his fellow marines in their heroic stand against the enemy and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Lieutenant Skinner's remains were repatriated to the United States and rest today in Arlington National Cemetery.

2nd Battalion, 11th Marines today uses the M777 Howitzer for artillery support of the 1st Marine Division. They are stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California.

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