Medal of Honor Recipients
Private Robert A. McTureous
3d Battlion, 29th Marines
7 June 1945
In May 1945, Pvt Robert McTureous was sent to the 3d Battalion, 29th Marines as a replacement. On 7 June, following his company’s seizure of an important hill objective on Okinawa, Pvt. McTureous observed the plight of company stretcher bearers who were being assailed by machine gun fire as they attempted to evacuate the wounded at the rear of the newly-won position. Determined to prevent further casualties, he filled his jacket with hand grenades and charged up the hill into the enemy position from where he knew the rifle and machine-gun fire was coming.
Running among the caves, Pvt McTureous tossed grenades into the Japanese positions as Marine stretcher-bearers came forward to remove the wounded during the temporary lull caused by his furious one-man assault. His supply of hand grenades exhausted, he returned to his lines, got another load and returned to the caves, throwing his deadly charges into the enemy positions. Passing one cave, he was badly wounded in the stomach. Instead of calling for help and risking the lives of the men who would attempt to rescue him, Pvt McTureous crawled 200 yards to a sheltered position within friendly lines before calling for aid.
The actions of Pvt McTureous silenced the Japanese, killed six of them, and so badly disorganized the remainder of the defending garrison, that his own company was able to occupy the hill and complete its mission. In addition, the wounded were evacuated to safety as a result of to his heroic actions. Pvt McTureous himself was evacuated to a hospital ship, the USS Relief, and given large quantities of blood in an attempt to save his life. However, all efforts failed, and on the morning of 11 June 1945 he died at sea.
Pvt McTureous was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. It was presented to his parents at a ceremony in Altoona, Florida on 7 August 1946. The presentation was made by LtCol Alexander A. Vandegrift, Jr., USMC, Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida.
Robert Miller McTureous, Jr., was born in Altoona, Florida, on 26 March 1924. When he first tried to join the Marines, he was classified as 4F due to a hernia. He went to work to save enough money to have an operation to repair it. After recovering from the operation, he tried to enlist in the Marines a second time, but they found a hernia on the other side. He went back until he was able to save enough money for a second surgery. In August 1944 on his third try, he was declared fit, and he was inducted into the Marine Corps on 31 August 1944.
Private McTureous was sent to Parris Island for his recruit training, qualifying as a sharpshooter with both the M-1 rifle and the Browning Automatic Rifle. In November, he reported to Camp Lejeune, and a month later he was assigned to the 46th Replacement Draft. In March 1945 the unit moved to Camp Pendleton and then to the Pacific. After stopping at Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, they disembarked on Guam and went into rigid combat training on 31 March.
When the need for replacements on Okinawa became apparent, Pvt McTureous' draft was sent. They arrived at Okinawa on 15 May and plunged into the fighting as a unit. On 31 May, Pvt McTureous became attached to Company H, 3d Battalion, 29th Marines and finally felt that he belonged to something stable, a real Marine rifle company.
Pvt McTureous was buried in the 2d Marine Division Cemetery on Saipan. In 1949, his remains were reinterred in Glendale Cemetery, Umatilla, Florida.
More than half a century later, Micha Martin, a boy scout in the area, raised more than $5,000 for a larger and more substantial headstone for McTureous as his Eagle project. The dedication for the new headstone was on Memorial Day 2015. Harry McKnight (29th Mar-3-H), a good friend of Pvt McTureous and Sixth Division Association Chaplain, in the company of his wife, Barbara, attended the ceremony at the invitation of the family.
Pvt McTureous's new headstone, dedicated 25 May 2015