MOH: R Dunlap led his company through a hail of artillery, mortar, rifle and machine gun fire

Jun 11 , 2022

MOH: R Dunlap led his company through a hail of artillery, mortar, rifle and machine gun fire

Robert Hugo Dunlap was born in Abingdon, Illinois, on October 19, 1920. He graduated from Monmouth College in May 1942 with a degree in Economics and Business.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve on March 5, 1942 while still a student at Monmouth. He was called to active duty in May 1942 and transferred to the Officer Candidates Class at Quantico, Virginia. He underwent parachute training and was assigned to the 3d Parachute Battalion.

On February 22, 1945, while leading his squad through heavy small arms and artillery fire in an assault on a strongly defended enemy position, Sergeant Allen and his men became isolated in front of his platoon which received heavy casualties, including the Platoon Leader.

Advancing to 1st Lieutenant in April 1943, he took part in the invasions of Vella LaVella and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. He returned to the United States in March 1944 to join the 5th Marine Division. On October 2, 1944, he was promoted to Captain and became Commanding Officer, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines.

The day after the Iwo Jima landing, Dunlap led his company through a hail of artillery, mortar, rifle and machine gun fire uphill toward a series of steep cliffs and enemy-held caves. When finally the volume of enemy fire became too intense to advance, Captain Dunlap held up his company and crawled alone approximately 200 yards forward of his front lines, while his men watched in fear and admiration.

From this position at the base of a cliff, about 50 yards from the Japanese lines, Dunlap spotted the enemy gun positions and returned to his own lines to relay the vital information. He worked without rest for two days and two nights under constant enemy fire, skillfully directing attacks against the almost impregnable enemy positions.

On February 26, Dunlap was shot in the left hip and evacuated from Iwo Jima. The Medal of Honor was awarded by President Harry S. Truman to Captain Dunlap in ceremonies at the White House. He retired with the rank of major on December 1, 1946. Major Dunlap passed away on March 24, 2000, and was laid to rest in Warren County Memorial Park in Monmouth, Illinois.

World War II - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

ROBERT HUGO DUNLAP

DETAILS
  • RANK: CAPTAIN (HIGHEST RANK: MAJOR)
  • CONFLICT/ERA: WORLD WAR II
  • UNIT/COMMAND:
    COMPANY C, 1ST BATTALION, 26TH MARINES,
    5TH MARINE DIVISION
  • MILITARY SERVICE BRANCH: U.S. MARINE CORPS RESERVE
  • MEDAL OF HONOR ACTION DATE: FEBRUARY 20 - 21, 1945
  • MEDAL OF HONOR ACTION PLACE: IWO JIMA, VOLCANO ISLANDS
CITATION

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands on 20 and 21 February, 1945. Defying uninterrupted blasts of Japanese artillery, mortar, rifle, and machine-gun fire, Capt. Dunlap led his troops in a determined advance from low ground uphill toward the steep cliffs from which the enemy poured a devastating rain of shrapnel and bullets, steadily inching forward until the tremendous volume of enemy fire from the caves located high to his front temporarily halted his progress. Determined not to yield, he crawled alone approximately 200 yards forward of his front lines, took observation at the base of the cliff 50 yards from Japanese lines, located the enemy gun positions, and returned to his own lines where he relayed the vital information to supporting artillery and naval gunfire units. Persistently disregarding his own personal safety, he then placed himself in an exposed vantage point to direct more accurately the supporting fire and, working without respite for two days and two nights under constant enemy fire, skillfully directed a smashing bombardment against the almost impregnable Japanese positions despite numerous obstacles and heavy marine casualties. A brilliant leader, Capt. Dunlap inspired his men to heroic efforts during this critical phase of the battle and by his cool decision, indomitable fighting spirit, and daring tactics in the face of fanatic opposition greatly accelerated the final decisive defeat of Japanese countermeasures in his sector and materially furthered the continued advance of his company. His great personal valor and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice throughout the bitter hostilities reflect the highest credit upon Capt. Dunlap and the U.S. Naval Service.

Medal of Honor Recipient Robert H. Dunlap
MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT ROBERT H. DUNLAP
ADDITIONAL DETAILS
  • ACCREDITED TO: MONMOUTH, WARREN COUNTY, ILLINOIS
  • AWARDED POSTHUMOUSLY: NO
  • PRESENTATION DATE & DETAILS: DECEMBER 18, 1945

    THE WHITE HOUSE, PRESENTED BY PRES. HARRY S. TRUMAN

  • BORN: OCTOBER 19, 1920, ABINGDON, KNOX COUNTY, IL, UNITED STATES
  • DIED: MARCH 24, 2000, MONMOUTH, IL, UNITED STATES
  • BURIED: WARREN COUNTY MEMORIAL PARK (MH) (28-3), MONMOUTH, IL, UNITED STATES


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