On September 15, 1944, the United States Marine Corps‘ 1st Marine Division began the assault on the island of Peleliu. Peleliu was identified as a necessary target to seize as both flank protection and staging area for later attacks on the Philippines and on to Japan.
Two Marines – both from the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment – received the Medal of Honor for their heroism on the first day of the assault. Both were awarded because the Marines smothered grenade blasts with their bodies.
Lewis Kenneth Bausell was born on April 17, 1924 in Pulaski, Virginia. He volunteered for the Marines eight days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and was a veteran of the 1st Marine Division assaults on both Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester.
*BAUSELL, LEWIS KENNETH
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu Island, Palau Group, 15 September 1944. Valiantly placing himself at the head of his squad, Cpl. Bausell led the charge forward against a hostile pillbox which was covering a vital sector of the beach and, as the first to reach the emplacement, immediately started firing his automatic into the aperture while the remainder of his men closed in on the enemy. Swift to act, as a Japanese grenade was hurled into their midst, Cpl. Bausell threw himself on the deadly weapon, taking the full blast of the explosion and sacrificing his own life to save his men. His unwavering loyalty and inspiring courage reflect the highest credit upon Cpl. Bausell and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Carlton Rouh also volunteered for the Marines in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. He also fought in the Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester campaigns, and was decorated with the Silver Star during the first. He received a battlefield commission, and survived the grenade blast that he shielded his fellow Marines from.
ROUH, CARLTON ROBERT
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Peleliu Island, Palau group, 15 September 1944. Entered service at: New Jersey
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu Island, Palau group, 15 September 1944. Before permitting his men to use an enemy dugout as a position for an 81-mm. mortar observation post, 1st Lt. Rouh made a personal reconnaissance of the pillbox and, upon entering, was severely wounded by Japanese rifle fire from within. Emerging from the dugout, he was immediately assisted by 2 marines to a less exposed area but, while receiving first aid, was further endangered by an enemy grenade which was thrown into their midst. Quick to act in spite of his weakened condition, he lurched to a crouching position and thrust both men aside, placing his own body between them and the grenade and taking the full blast of the explosion himself. His exceptional spirit of loyalty and self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death reflects the highest credit upon 1st Lt. Rouh and the U.S. Naval Service.
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Private First Class Carlton Robert Rouh (MCSN: 0-351122), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while a member of Company M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 9 October 1942. While under tremendous hostile fire, Private First Class Rouh, with cool courage and utter disregard for his own personal safety, unhesitatingly volunteered assisting in the transportation of injured personnel to assisting in the transportation of injured personnel to the company aid station until he, himself, was wounded by enemy fire. His heroic conduct, maintained at great risk in the face of grave danger, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Rouh survived the war and passed away on December 8, 1977 at age 58. He rests in peace in the Berlin Cemetery, Berlin, New Jersey.