National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation Statement on Passing of Medal of Honor Recipient Duane Dewey
ARLINGTON, TX – (October 13, 2021) – Duane Dewey earned the Medal of Honor on April 16, 1952, while serving in the Korean War. With his passing at the age of 89, there are now only 66 living recipients of the nation’s highest award for valor in combat.
“In the heat of battle, already injured, Corporal Duane Dewey showed a total disregard for his personal safety when he placed his body between an enemy grenade and his fellow Marines, saving their lives and sustaining a near-fatal blow. He miraculously recovered. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said he must have been ‘made of steel,’ but what was indestructible was this American hero’s commitment to the men he fought alongside. That kind of unparalleled sacrifice – to put the cause of freedom above yourself – is what the Medal of Honor represents. As another hero passes, we are reminded of the urgency to build the National Medal of Honor Museum, where the stories of courageous Medal of Honor recipients like Corporal Dewey will be preserved, and the Medal of Honor Monument, which will be a lasting tribute to the values and valor he and his fellow recipients represent. We join his family and all Americans mourning this hero’s passing,” said National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation President and CEO Chris Cassidy.
Enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1951, Dewey spent months recovering from his injuries. After serving, he returned home to South Haven, Michigan.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a gunner in a machine gun platoon of Company E, in action against enemy aggressor forces. When an enemy grenade landed close to his position while he and his assistant gunner were receiving medical attention for their wounds during a fierce night attack by numerically superior hostile forces, Cpl. Dewey, although suffering intense pain, immediately pulled the corpsman to the ground and, shouting a warning to the other marines around him. bravely smothered the deadly missile with his body, personally absorbing the full force of the explosion to save his comrades from possible injury or death. His indomitable courage, outstanding initiative, and valiant efforts in behalf of others in the face of almost certain death reflect the highest credit upon Cpl. Dewey and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.