Salute To Service: Private First Class Robert Ernest Simanek
Regiment is an organization that celebrates its heritage proudly.
Our history of service is built upon the shoulders of great men and women who have served this country with professionalism, duty and selfless service.
It is our honor to celebrate the sacrifices of those that have served, serve and will serve to defend what this country stands for.
Each week, we will highlight great Americans and their actions to continue to solidify the foundation of everything that this country is built upon.
For this week's Salute to Service, in light of the United States Marine Corps birthday, we chose Medal of Honor recipient, PFC Robert Simanek.
Simanek joined the Marines in Aug of 1951, out of Detroit, Michigan. Prior to joining the USMC, he worked for the Ford Motor Company and General Motors.
After completing his recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, in Oct of 1951, he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. Shortly after, he was sent to Korea to join Company F, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines.
While in Korea, PFC Simanek and his unit were on patrol on route to a forward operating base when they were attacked.
Enemy forces had set up an ambush for Simanek and his unit, attacking with an “intense concentration of mortars and small-arms fire. This caused his unit to suffer heavy casualties.
Simanek's citation reads, “determined to save his comrades when a hostile grenade was hurled into their midst, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his body and shielding his fellow marines from serious injury or death.”
Simanek threw himself on top of an enemy grenade to save his fellow Marines lives. Simanek was so badly wounded by the grenade that he was medically evacuated to a hospital ship, the “Haven”, and then transported to Japan for further treatment.
He later returned to the US and then following more hospitalizations, was retired medically in March of 1953.
In October of 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented Private First Class Simanek the Medal of Honor during a presentation at the White House in Washington D.C.
He was also the recipient of the Purple Heart. Also, prior to his actions during the ambush, Simanek had already earned two Battle Stars by the time he was wounded in combat.
The US Navy also announced, in January of 2021, that they would be naming a Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base (a support vessel) after PFC Simanek, during his visit to the oldest US Navy commissioned ship afloat, the USS Constitution.