PRIVATE FIRST CLASS
ALBERT EARNEST SCHWAB, USMCR (DECEASED)
Medal of Honor Citation
Private First Class Albert Schwab was just five days short of having one year in the Marine Corps when he fearlessly walked into a blazing Japanese machine gun on Okinawa. He destroyed two guns that day and subsequently earned the highest military honor, the Medal of Honor.
Albert Earnest Schwab was born 17 July 1920 in Washington, D.C. The family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, early in his life. He attended the local schools, graduating from Tulsa High School in 1937. After one semester at Tulsa University, the young athlete went to work for an oil company.
Inducted into the Marine Corps on 12 May 1944, he was sent to boot camp in San Diego. His boot leave of ten days was the only time his family was to see him in the Marine uniform. After his furlough, the former oil worker went to the 2d Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California. In November, Pvt Schwab was transferred to the 13th Replacement Draft and on the 12th of that month departed for overseas duty aboard the USS Wharton. He joined the 1st Marine Division at Pavuvu Island, in the Russells, and was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. On 24 December, Pvt Schwab was promoted to private first class and in February, he, along with the rest of the division, embarked for maneuvers which eventually led to an enemy landing on the shores of Okinawa on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1945.
Private First Class Schwab was a flame thrower operator with Headquarters Company. When that company was pinned down in a valley on 7 May by the withering fire of a machine gun coming from a ridge high to the company's front, he scaled the cliff in the face of the devastating fire and attacked the gun with his flame thrower. Quickly demolishing the position and its crew, his company was able to occupy the ridge. Suddenly, a second machine gun opened fire inflicting more casualties on the unit. Although he had not had time to replenish his supply of fuel, PFC Schwab unhesitatingly advanced on the second gun and succeeded in eliminating it before its final burst caught him in the left hip, inflicting fatal wounds.
The Medal of Honor was presented to PFC Schwab's three-year-old son at Boulder Park in Tulsa on Memorial Day 1946 by Rear Admiral J.J. Clark, USN, Commander of the Naval Air Basic Training Command, Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Private First Class Schwab's body was returned to the United States and buried with full military honors at Memorial Park, Tulsa, 27 February 1949. On 3 October 1959, a Marine camp constructed on Okinawa was named Camp Schwab in honor of the heroic Marine.
World War II 1941-1945 Medal of Honor