Medal of Honor Citation

Staff Sergeant Robert S. Kennemore, 32, of Greenville, South Carolina, earned the Medal of Honor during the bitter Chosin Reservoir campaign of November 1950, when he deliberately covered an enemy grenade with his foot to keep his men from being wounded or killed. SSgt Kennemore, who lost both of his legs through his unselfish sacrifice, is the 23rd Marine to receive the Nation’s highest award for heroism in Korea. The medal was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman during ceremonies at the White House on 24 November 1952.

A veteran of the Guadalcanal-Tulagi campaign of World War II, Robert Sidney Kennemore was born 21 June 1920, in Greenville, South Carolina. He attended high school in Simpsonville, South Carolina, until 1935, and was employed by the Montgomery Ward Company, in Chicago, Illinois, before enlisting in the Marine Corps on 20 June 1940.

Completing his recruit training in San Diego, California, in August 1940, he was stationed there until July 1942, when he sailed for the Pacific theater with the 1st Marine Division. After serving with the division in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi campaign, he returned to the United States in June 1943 for duty at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 

In February 1944, he was ordered to Camp Pendleton, California, where he served until that September. He was then stationed at the Marine Barracks, Klamath Falls, Oregon, until February 1945, when he was assigned to the Marine Barracks, at the Naval Air Station, Boca Chica, Florida.


In July 1945, after brief service at Camp Lejeune, he embarked for Japan to serve on occupation duty with the 2d Marine Division. He returned to the States in April 1946, and served briefly at San Diego and the Marine Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana, until September 1946, when he began a year of duty at the Marine Barracks, Naval Mine Depot, Yorktown, Virginia. In September 1947, he was ordered to New York City, where he served for two years at Headquarters of the 3d Marine Corps Reserve District.


Staff Sergeant Kennemore joined the 2d Battalion, 6th Regiment, 2d Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, in October 1949, and with the outbreak of the Korean fighting, moved with the battalion to the West Coast in July 1950. The 2d Battalion was made part of the 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in August 1950, and the following month SSgt Kennemore embarked for Korea, where he served with the 2d Battalion in the Seoul and Chosin Reservoir campaigns.


After he was wounded in the action which earned him the Medal of Honor, SSgt Kennemore was returned to the United States in December 1950 for treatment at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Oakland, California. He remained in that hospital for almost a year, until his retirement on 31 October 1951.

Staff Sergeant Kennemore passed away on 26 April 1989. He was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco, California.

In addition to the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart Medal he received for his wounds, SSgt Kennemore’s medals and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation with two bronze stars; the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with two bronze stars in lieu of second and third awards; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Theater Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaign Medal with two bronze stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp; the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars; and the United Nations Service Medal.

Korean War Medal of Honor

Marine Corps University