Medal of Honor awardee Simanek passes on. Only 2 from Korea remain

| August 9, 2022

Robert E. Simanek, 92, passed August 4 in West Bloomfield, MI. He was awarded the Medal of Honor after jumping on a Chinese hand grenade (after kicking away a second grenade thrown at the same time.)

The Chinese attacked. During the ensuing firefight, two grenades landed in the shallow trench where Simanek and other Marines had taken cover while returning fire.

Simanek kicked away one of the grenades, taking shrapnel in his legs from the blast.

“I didn’t think there was any time left” to grab the second grenade and throw it back, he said. So he covered the second grenade with his body to protect the other members of the patrol.


Robert graduated from high school in 1948 and worked for the Ford Motor Company and General Motors before he was inducted into the Marine Corps in August 1951.

Shrapnel from the exploding grenade that Mr. Simanek smothered remained in his leg for the rest of his life. Over the years he was called upon many times to recount his exploits in Korea, but he disdained bravado. His daughter said he “didn’t like public speaking” and “felt he acted instinctively from his training.”

“The turns in the road. The roads not taken,” said his only child, Ann Clark, of Traverse City. He had good breaks, he had heartbreaks, and at the end, he was content.

In life, Simanek’s act of selfless bravery on a Korean hilltop earned him handshakes from nine presidents. Rooms full of other heroes cheered him, and strangers sent him letters asking for his signature.

In death, Clark said, the U.S. Marine Corps offered marching musicians and a flyover of screaming jets. No, thank you, she said; there will be an honor guard and a rifle salute at his small, private funeral this week, but her father never sought attention before, and he wouldn’t care for it now.

Yahoo News

Category: Combat Wounded, Korea, Marine Corps, Medal of Honor, Veterans in the news, War Stories

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Farewell, sir. Godspeed.


“…never sought attention…” That such men lived. Godspeed and Fare Well, Good Sir. A Salute to you. May God’s Peace bring His Comfort to your family.

Old tanker

RIP Sir, may your reunion with your Brothers in Arms be joyous.

BlueCord Dad

Fair winds and following seas Marine. Semper Fi


Its a wonder the man could walk with brass balls that big. Semper Fi and God Bless you Devildog!! You will never be forgotten!


Dusty in here this morning. God be with his family. now.

RGR 4-78

Rest in Peace.


Rest in peace, Marine.

Salute #2.JPG

[…] week, Robert Simanek, a recipient of the Medal of Honor, passed away at the age of 92 on 1 August. David posted about it earlier this week, but I wanted to dig deeper into his story. His death leaves only two living […]