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Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Richard Keith Sorenson

  • Rank: Private (Highest Rank: First Lieutenant)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Company M, 3d Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment,
    4th Marine Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 1 - 2, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with an assault battalion attached to the 4th Marine Division during the battle of Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands on 1-2 February 1944. Putting up a brave defense against a particularly violent counterattack by the enemy during invasion operations, Pvt. Sorenson and five other marines occupying a shell hole were endangered by a Japanese grenade thrown into their midst. Unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Pvt. Sorenson hurled himself upon the deadly weapon, heroically taking the full impact of the explosion. As a result of his gallant action, he was severely wounded, but the lives of his comrades were saved. His great personal valor and exceptional spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Anoka, Anoka County, Minnesota
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: July 19, 1944

    Seattle Naval Hospital, Seattle, Washington, presented by Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Fegan

  • Born: August 28, 1924, Anoka, Anoka County, MN, United States
  • Died: October 9, 2004, Reno, NV, United States
  • Buried: Fort Snelling National Cemetery (MH) (B-149-1), Minneapolis, MN, United States

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