Medal of Honor Citation

Private First Class Richard B. Anderson, who hurled himself on a live grenade in a shell hole on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, to save the lives of three buddies though he knew death for himself was almost certain, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor--the nation's highest military decoration.

Roi Island was the first pre-war Japanese territory to fall to Marines. PFC Anderson, a member of the invasion force, was hunting enemy snipers when he chose the shell hole in the center of Roi airfield as a point of vantage from which to attack Japanese positions.

The 22-year-old Marine, who had tattooed on his arm the inscription, "Death Before Dishonor," was evacuated to a ship, where he died of his wounds on 1 February 1944. He was buried at sea with full military honors.

Black-haired and ruddy complexioned, Richard Beatty Anderson, who was just five and a half feet tall, was born in Tacoma, Washington, on 26 June 1921. He attended McCleay School and Sequim High School. He worked for eleven months in the Richmond Shipyards, Richmond, California, before entering the Marine Corps on 6 July 1942 in Oakland, California.

Transferred to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, for his recruit training, he next joined the Marine Barracks, Naval Receiving Station in San Diego in October 1942. Promoted to private first class on 12 April 1943, he was ordered to the Infantry Battalion, Training Center, Camp Elliott, San Diego, shortly afterwards.

He next joined his last unit, Company E, 2d Battalion, 23d Marines, and with his unit he departed from the United States in January 1944. The following month he landed in the Marshall Islands.

The Medal of Honor was presented to his parents by Rear Admiral Sherwoode A. Taffinder, USN, then Commandant of the Thirteenth Naval District in Seattle, Washington.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.

World War II Medal of Honor

Marine Corps University