Medal of Honor Citation

Robert J. Modrzejewski, who earned the nation’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for conspicuous gallantry in Vietnam, was born 3 July 1934, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from Pulaski High School there in 1953, then attended Wisconsin State Teachers College prior to entering the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in 1957.

While at the University of Wisconsin, he was a member of the Platoon Leaders Class and upon graduation, was commissioned a Marine Corps Reserve second lieutenant in June 1957. He was integrated into the Regular Marine Corps in May 1960.

Second Lieutenant Modrzejewski completed the 4-57 Basic Course, The Basic School, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, in March 1958, then served as an instructor at The Basic School until the following May.

From June 1958 until September 1959, he was attached to the 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, and served as a platoon leader of H&S Company, as well as platoon leader and S-2 Officer of Company I and Company M, respectively. He was promoted to first lieutenant in December 1958.

Transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he served, successively, as Equipment Officer with the Landing Support Company, 2d Service Battalion, 2d Marine Division until May 1960; Pathfinder Team Leader of the 2d Force Reconnaissance Company, until December 1960; Pathfinder Team Leader with Sub Unit One, HMR(L)-262, MAG-26 at Marine Corps Air Facility, New River, North Carolina, until May 1961, and again as Pathfinder Team Leader and Parachute Pathfinder Team Leader with the 2d Force Reconnaissance Company, until May 1962. While serving in the latter capacity, he served aboard the USS San Marcos (LSD-25) with Sub Unit #2. He was promoted to captain in May 1962.

Captain Modrzejewski saw a three year tour of duty as Assistant Officer in Charge, Marine Corps Recruiting Station, Cincinnati, Ohio. In May 1965, he returned to the Marine Corps Schools in Quantico, Virginia, and served as Executive Officer, Company E, Officers Candidates Schools, until August 1965, then attended the Amphibious Warfare School, completing the course in February 1966.

Ordered to the West Coast, then to the Republic of Vietnam, he assumed duty as Commanding Officer of Company K, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division. It was during this period that he distinguished himself above and beyond the call of duty. The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Lyndon B. Johnson in ceremonies held at the White House on 12 March 1968.

Captain Modrzejewski later served as Battalion S-3 and Company Commander until December 1966, then became Command Operations Center Watch Officer with Headquarters Company, 3d Marine Division, FMF, until May 1967. He was promoted to major in January 1967.

Upon his return to the United States in June 1967, he was assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, as Commanding Officer of the Marine Barracks. In January 1970, he entered the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia, and completed the course the following June. He then reported to Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe, Hawaii, for duty with Headquarters and Service Company, First Marine Brigade.

Colonel Modrzejewski retired from the Marine Corps in August 1986.

A complete list of his medals and decorations includes: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Gold Star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Vietnam War 1965-1973 Medal of Honor

Marine Corps University