Tag Archives: Marshall Islands

TFH 2/2 Part 2: Private Richard K. Sorenson, USMCR

Richard Keith Sorenson was born in Anoka, Minnesota on August 28, 1924. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on January 7, 1941, he wanted to enlist in the United States Navy to go to war for his country, but as he was just seventeen years old, he needed his parents’ permission, which they denied.

One year later, now eighteen, Sorenson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve on December 13, 1942 and after initial training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, was placed on active service with the United States Marine Corps‘ brand-new 4th Marine Division, then forming up and preparing for war at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Sorenson was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment as an infantryman.

The 4th Marine Division spent extra time in training as they would depart the United States direct for a landing on an opposed shore. They sailed from California in January 1944. Their destination: Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The attack was codenamed Operation FLINTLOCK, and began on January 31, 1944.

As part of 3/24 Marines, Sorenson landed on the Namur portion of Kwajalein’s Roi-Namur island on February 1. The next day, with victory for the Americans in sight, the Japanese defenders launched desperate counterattacks that if they wouldn’t repel the invaders, they’d cause as much damage as possible.

Sorenson sought cover in a shell hole with five other Marines during one such counterattack. When a Japanese grenade landed in their midst, he selflessly covered the weapon with his own body absorb its blast and save the lives of his five comrades. Miraculously, and largely thanks to quick first aid rendered to him by a Navy Corpsman who tied off a severed artery and stabilized his other massive wounds, Sorenson survived the grenade explosion, and lived to receive the Medal of Honor he so assuredly deserved.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (M-S):

build nioxin shampoo uk SORENSON, RICHARD KEITH
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https://gananadha.com.au/60824-zovirax-price.html Place and date: Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll Marshall Islands, 1-2 February 1944
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buy orlistat 60 mg with no prescription Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with an assault battalion attached to the 4th Marine Division during the battle of Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1-2 February 1944. Putting up a brave defense against a particularly violent counterattack by the enemy during invasion operations, Pvt. Sorenson and 5 other marines occupying a shellhole were endangered by a Japanese grenade thrown into their midst. Unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Pvt. Sorenson hurled himself upon the deadly weapon, heroically taking the full impact of the explosion. As a result of his gallant action, he was severely wounded, but the lives of his comrades were saved. His great personal valor and exceptional spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Sorenson endured six surgeries over nine months during his recovery. He learned that he would receive the Medal from the commander of the Seattle Naval Hospital, Captain Joel T. Boone, himself a Medal of Honor recipient for World War I.

He remained in the Marine Reserves after the war, was eventually commissioned as an officer, and was recalled to active service during the Korean War, although he served entirely in stateside roles and did not see further action. As a civilian, Sorenson worked in insurance but also spent many years working with the Veterans Administration (today the Department of Veterans Affairs), retiring in 1978 as the Director of veterans’ services for Nevada and several California counties.

Richard K. Sorenson passed away at age 80 on October 9, 2004 in Reno, Nevada. After memorial services there, his remains were transported back to his native Minnesota where he today rests in peace in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis.

No vessel of the United States Navy has ever been named for this hero from their sister service. This is once again a good time to point out that we will have a USS Gabrielle Giffords in our fleet in the coming years.

The 24th Marine Regiment was deactivated in September 2013 as part of the restructuring of the 4th Marine Division. The Marines of the 24th’s 3rd Battalion were assimilated into the 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines. Their headquarters, as reservists, are in St. Louis, Missouri.


TFH 2/1 Part 1: Private First Class Richard B. Anderson, USMC

Richard Beatty Anderson was born in Tacoma, Washington on June 26, 1921 and grew up in nearby Agnew, Washington. He graduated from high school in 1939 or 1940, and volunteered for the United States Marine Corps in July 6, 1942. After receiving his recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Anderson was stationed at the Marine Barracks in San Diego until being ordered to report for infantry training.

Anderson received a promotion to Private First Class on April 12, 1943 and became a member of the new 4th Marine Division then in formation. His assignment was with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment then in training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California. In January 1944, the 4th Marine Division deployed from California for their first combat action of World War II: the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign.

The 4th Marine Division arrived off the shores of Kwajalein Atoll in late January. The assault began on January 31, 1944, with the 23rd Marines assigned to land the following day on the Roi portion of the linked Roi-Namur islands in the north segment of the atoll.

On February 1, 1944, PFC Anderson had taken cover in a shell hole with three of his fellow Marines. As he prepared to hurl a grenade at the Japanese enemy, the weapon slipped from his grasp and fell amongst his comrades. Instantly realizing that the grenade would kill them all if he didn’t act, Anderson selflessly smothered the grenade with his own body, saved the lives of the other three, and ultimately joined the ranks of our Nation’s greatest heroes.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (A-F):

Photo from Military Times’ Hall of Valor


Rank and organization: Private First Class, 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 4th Marine Division during action against enemy Japanese forces on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, 1 February 1944. Entering a shell crater occupied by 3 other marines, Pfc. Anderson was preparing to throw a grenade at an enemy position when it slipped from his hands and rolled toward the men at the bottom of the hole. With insufficient time to retrieve the armed weapon and throw it, Pfc. Anderson fearlessly chose to sacrifice himself and save his companions by hurling his body upon the grenade and taking the full impact of the explosion. His personal valor and exceptional spirit of loyalty in the face of almost certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

PFC Anderson survived the grenade’s blast long enough to be evacuated to a hospital ship where he succumbed to his wounds. His remains were repatriated to the United States and he was laid to rest in the New Tacoma Cemetery, University Place, Washington.

Meanwhile, on the neighboring island of Namur, First Lieutenant John V. Power led his Marines on a charge against a Japanese strongpoint. Half a world away in Italy later the same day, Army PFC Alton W. Knappenberger’s accuracy with his automatic rifle saved the day at Cisterna.

On October 26, 1945, the United States Navy accepted into commission the Gearing-class destroyer USS Richard B. Anderson (DD-786). The ship was sponsored by PFC Anderson’s mother and his brother Robert, a Navy Machinist’s Mate, became a “plank owner” as a member of her commissioning crew. The Anderson served our fleet until her decommissioning on December 20, 1975. The ship later served for over 20 years in the Taiwanese Navy from 1977 to 1999.

The 4th Marine Division is the present-day ground component of the Marine Forces Reserve. 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines is still a part of the division and is comprised of reservists located across the Southwestern United States.