National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation President and CEO Chris Cassidy released the below statement on the passing today of Medal of Honor recipient Robert Simanek:
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pfc. Robert Simanek, who displayed incredible selflessness and courage on the battlefields of Korea when he risked his own life by jumping on a grenade to protect his fellow Marines. His devotion to others and to our nation will be felt for years to come as his spirit lives on in those who he inspired. We offer our deepest condolences to his family as they, along with all Americans and the Medal of Honor community, grieve this amazing hero.
“Robert’s passing underscores the need for capturing and preserving the legacies of all Medal of Honor recipients. There are now only 65 living recipients and just two from the Korean War, Hiroshi Miyamura and Ralph Puckett, Jr.”
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. While accompanying a patrol en route to occupy a combat outpost forward of friendly lines, Pfc. Simanek exhibited a high degree of courage and a resolute spirit of self-sacrifice in protecting the lives of his fellow marines. With his unit ambushed by an intense concentration of enemy mortar and small-arms fire, and suffering heavy casualties, he was forced to seek cover with the remaining members of the patrol in a nearby trench line. Determined to save his comrades when a hostile grenade was hurled into their midst, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his body and shielding his fellow marines from serious injury or death. Gravely wounded as a result of his heroic action, Pfc. Simanek, by his daring initiative and great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.