PRIVATE FIRST CLASS
RICHARD EDWARD KRAUS, USMCR (DECEASED)
Medal of Honor Citation
Private First Class Richard Edward Kraus, posthumous recipient of the Nation's highest military tribute, the Medal of Honor, was killed in action during the World War II campaign on Peleliu Island on 3 October 1944. The award was presented to his mother on 2 August 1945, by Col Norman E. True, District Marine Officer for the Ninth Naval District.
Richard E. Kraus was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 24 November 1925, and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, when he was seven. He attended Edison High School there and was inducted into the Marine Corps on his 18th birthday, after previously trying to enlist.
On the occasion of his heroism and death, he was serving as an amphibious tractor driver with the 8th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, which participated in the D-Day landings on Peleliu. He and three companions had accepted a volunteer mission to evacuate a wounded fellow Marine from the front lines. As the group made their way forward, they were met by an intense barrage of hand grenade fire, which forced them to take cover.
While returning to the rear, the stretcher party observed two men approaching who they believed were Marines. Upon challenging the pair, they proved to be Japanese, and one of the enemy responded by throwing a hand grenade into the midst of the group. PFC Kraus unhesitatingly hurled himself on top of it, and by his prompt action and personal valor in the face of certain death, saved the lives of his three comrades.
Private First Class Kraus had been overseas only three months at the time of the Peleliu battle, which was his first campaign.
Private First Class Kraus was initially buried in the U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery on Peleliu, Palau Islands. Later, in 1948, his remains were reinterred in Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, at his parents' request.
World War II Medal of Honor