Medal of Honor Recipients
Corporal Richard E. Bush
1st Battlion, 4th Marines
16 April 1945
Cpl Bush was a squad leader for 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. On 16 April 1945 during the final assault on Mount Yaetake in northern Okinawa, he defied concentrated Japanese artillery to lead his squad up the face of the mountain. As the first unit to break through the Japanese defenses, they drove the enemy from their entrenched position. Cpl Bush fought relentlessly, even after being seriously injured, ignoring his wounds until ordered to seek treatment. While in the makeshift medical camp, an enemy grenade landed amongst the wounded men and medical staff. Risking his life, Cpl Bush pulled the grenade to his body and absorbed its impact in order to save his fellow Marines and Corpsmen from injury or death. Although he lost several fingers and the sight in one eye, Cpl Bush survived.
Cpl Bush was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Truman on 4 October 1945 in the White House.
Born in Glasgow, Kentucky on 23 December 1924, Richard E. Bush worked for his father as a tractor driver and completed one year of high school before enlisting in the Marine Corps on 22 September 1942. After undergoing basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, he was transferred to a replacement battalion at Camp Elliott, California for further training as an armorer. He served with the Raiders in the Pacific where he was promoted to Corporal.
Following the war, MGySgt Bush worked as a counselor for the Veterans Administration until retiring in 1972. He earned numerous civilian awards for his work aiding veterans. Problems from his war injuries continue to plague him until his death from a heart ailment at age 79 on 7 June 2004. He is buried in Ascension Catholic Cemetery in Libertyville, Illinois.
At a gathering of Medal of Honor recipients in Chicago in 1990, MGySgt Bush told the Chicago Tribune, "I wasn't out there alone that day on Okinawa. "I had Marines to my right, Marines to my left, Marines behind me and Marines overhead. I didn't earn this alone. It belongs to them too."
☆ Next: Major Henry A. Courtney Jr.