Valor Friday

| April 19, 2024

Ronald Rosser

Ronald Rosser was born in 1929, the eldest of 17 children, in Columbus, Ohio. From 1929, Rosser’s parents had one kid just about every year for 18 years. Coming of age during World War II, Ronald was too young to see active service in that conflict, but he did enlist at the age of 17 in 1946. His gravestone marks him as being a veteran of the Second World War, because, though the war had ended 15 August 1945, Truman did not declare an official end to all hostilities until 31 December 1946.

Rosser had an uneventful enlistment in the post-war Army and left the service with an honorable discharge in 1949. He’d served in the occupation of both Japan and Germany. This first hitch with the Army saw him as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Rosser would joke, “I flew a lot but I never landed once in an airplane.”

Returning home, Rosser worked in the mines while his brother Richard (b. 1931) enlisted in the Army. Nobody in the family was too concerned with Richard’s safety. The war was over, and he was presumed “safe.” Well…the North Koreans had different plans. When they launched their surprise invasion of the South in June 1950, Richard was home on leave. He received a telegram ordering him directly to Korea with the 24th Infantry Division. He arrived in early July.

The first few months of the Korean War saw the United Nations forces pushed almost entirely off the Korean Peninsula. The fighting was hard and the UN troops were constantly on the defense. It wasn’t until late 1950 that large-scale reinforcements had been mobilized, that they went on the offense. Once they did, UN troops pushed right into North Korea, almost conquering the country before their communist Chinese allies joined the conflict.

In those heady early days of combat, Richard’s division was heavily embroiled. Suffering major losses at the defense of the Pusan Perimeter, on 19 July, the North Koreans overran the division’s position, completely decimating them at the Battle of Taejon. Even the division’s commanding general, Major General William Dean, was among those wounded in action. Seriously wounded, he would be taken captive after evading capture for weeks in the mountains. He would later be awarded the Medal of Honor, and survived the war.

Richard was also among the casualties, but as his brother Ronald described, he was “lucky” that he was wounded early in the battle. Evacuated before the division fell, Ron wasn’t too concerned. He knew that once evacuated, the Army would take care of him. Richard even was able to make a phone call home, alleviating their fears.

What the family back home didn’t know was how dire the situation was in South Korea. After suffering several defeats like those that befell General Dean, they needed every available troop at the front fighting. This included the walking wounded, like Richard. He hadn’t told his family the extent of his injuries. His right arm was in a cast and he was missing fingers on both hands. Even with these wounds normally being an easy ticket home and out of the war, he was needed at the front.

Returning to action, Richard was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. He was killed in action at the Battle of Chipyong-ni in South Korea on 10 February 1951. The family received notice by telegram days later.

Distraught, the family was beside themselves at the loss of Richard at just 19 years old. Wanting revenge, Ronald immediately re-enlisted to join the fight. Naturally protective of his younger siblings, Rosser said, “I made up my mind I was gonna kill a lot of people, which I did.”

Rosser was stationed in Japan, but petitioned for a combat assignment. He soon got his wish, serving with the heavy mortar company of the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was a radio operator (RTO) for the forward observer, but when combat losses occurred, he soon became the forward observer.

The 2nd Infantry Division was involved in two of the most famous battles of the Korean War during this time. Rosser was with them at the Battle of Bloody Ridge (so named for the high number of casualties) and the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge (made more famous by the Clint Eastwood movie by that name, which was only tangentially related to the battle). Rosser sustained wounds in action during both of these brutal battles. While his company knew he’d been hurt, neither injury was reported up the chain. There was a policy of taking you off the line if you got wounded twice, so since neither was a serious wound, he asked to keep it on the down low.

By January 1952 Ronald was a corporal. Rosser’s company’s lead platoon was halted as the company assaulted a heavily fortified enemy hill. Only about 40 yards from the crest of the ridge, they’d already from 170 men to about 40 still combat effective.

Rosser was with his company commander and, using his radio, the only one the men had left, to call in a situation report to higher headquarters. He told the colonel on the other end of line that they were almost out of ammo, and had 35 men still standing. The colonel asked if any officers were still alive. Rosser replied they had two, including the company commander. The colonel insisted on talking to the captain, even when Rosser tried to explain the man was critically wounded (with most of his face missing). Even so, Rosser put the radio to the captain and told him the colonel needed to tell him something.

The colonel said, “I want you to reorganize your men, and make one final attempt to take the hill.” When they received the order to press the attack with what they had, the men were convinced this would be the last order they’d hear. The enemy stronghold appeared beyond their reach. With only a few dozen men, they were facing off against an estimated 200 communist soldiers dug in with machine guns.

Rosser’s captain gave a hopeless look up the mountain. Before he knew what he was saying, Rosser told him, “Don’t worry Captain, I will lead the men for you”. As they came under fire from two different locations, he handed over his radio to his assistant. The captain asked how Rosser could take the hill. He told him, “Well only way I know sir is straight in shooting.”

With only his carbine and a grenade, Rosser told the men to follow up. He charged forward alone. It was only when he was a few feet from the Chinese that he turned back to realize nobody was there. All the men that followed him lie dead or dying in the snow.

At the first bunker, a burst of fire from his rifle silenced the enemy position. Rosser then took the top of the hill, killing two more enemy, before jumping into the defensive trench to pursue more of the communists. Killing five more as he advanced, he tossed his grenade into a second bunker, and shot the two defenders who fled from his bomb. Rosser describes actions that sound like he was in an absolutely mad rage and killed everything he could by whatever means he could. Those he didn’t shoot, he clubbed with his rifle.

When he turned a corner in the trench he came upon 35 Chinese troops charging at him. He counter charged, alone, saying much later, “You know that works both ways.” Turn about really is fair in war. Killing the first man, he screamed at them in fury to “Run from me.” The sight of this bulletproof Yank psycho was enough to turn them around. Rosser jumped out of the trench and moved to cut them off. In doing so, as they passed him, he shot as many of the fleeing enemy as he could.

Rosser was now out of ammunition, and a very prime target for the enemy. What did he do? He went back to where he’d started in the trench and found one of his comrades badly wounded. Picking the man up, Rosser ran back through all of that enemy fire. The Chinese troops chased him as he went, but he ignored them. In fact, the madness of the whole situation was morbidly humorous to the young corporal. He was laughing when he came back to the American lines and was confronted by a seriously wounded artillery lieutenant.

Rosser recalls, the officer in exasperation asking, “Do you know what you’re doing? I said yes sir I’m killing these varmints as fast as i can but I’m out of ammunition. I got to get me some ammo.” The officer looked at him real funny and said, “I want to shake your hand.” So there they were, in the open with enemy machine gun fire whizzing by, shaking hands. Rosser thought he was going to die with this “ignorant lieutenant” and he hand-in-hand.

Returning to the American line, he got more ammunition, then turned right around and charged back into the communists. He attacked the enemy relentlessly, shocking them with his audacity. He continued to tally up communist troops killed until he again ran out of bullets.

Rosser had the taste of revenge, and he wanted more. Returning through the hail of enemy small arms and automatic fire, Rosser reloaded a third time, and again went up the hill alone. Tossing grenades into the enemy bunkers, he’s officially credited with personally killing at least 13 more communist troops.

Even with Rosser’s unthinkable level of aggression in the face of the enemy, the platoon finally withdrew. For a fourth time he’d exhausted his ammo. He’d been wounded during all this action (once in the hand and once in the shoulder). He ordered one of his terrified and wounded soldiers to collect the walking wounded and get off this mountain. Meanwhile, Rosser tool the last of their ammo to cover them. As he retreated with his men, he helped wounded comrades not get left behind.

Rosser said he doesn’t remember the Chinese shooting at them as they finally ran off the hill. A general later asked Rosser why he thinks that was. “Frankly, I think they was glad to see us go.”

After this day’s action, Rosser said he still tried to avoid getting another Purple Heart, because he didn’t want to leave the line of battle. In fact, he repeatedly refused to obey his colonel’s order to get off the line after he’d been recommended for the Medal of Honor. It’s bad form to have your man survive the action for which he later gets the MoH but die days later in combat.

Corporal Rosser (R) and President Truman

Rosser wasn’t removed from the line until a general officer at Eighth Army finally intervened. Rosser received the Medal of Honor for that day’s gallantry. He returned to the States in May 1952, and he got the medal from President Truman in June.

By Rosser’s personal estimate, he called in mortar and artillery fire that killed “about ten thousand Chinese and North Koreans”, another 400 by rifle and grenade fire, and 20 in hand-to-hand combat. He also estimated that he watched 2,000 Americans get killed or wounded in action. Rosser said while in Korea as a forward observer he lost eight RTOs that were assigned to him, with three of them killed.

Rosser remained in the Army and made a career of it. He received the Glider Badge, was a master Parachutist, Pathfinder, and Parachute Rigger. He spent some time as a recruiter, and rose to the rank of sergeant first class in the coming years. Among the duties he found most meaningful, he was selected (along with other living Medal of Honor recipients) to be among the body bearers for the interment of the remains for the Unknown Soldiers from WWII and Korea in 1956 at Arlington National Cemetery.

During this time, two of Rosser’s other brothers also answered the call for service. William (1937-2011) was a private in the US Army for a time, and Gary (b.1946) enlisted in the Marine Corps. Gary was sent to Vietnam in 1966, where he would be killed in action with the 1st Marine Division near Quang-Nam. In addition to the Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon, the division received a Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in action during Gary’s time with the unit.

As he’d done in the wake of his brother Richard’s death in Korea, Ronald requested a combat assignment after Gary perished. Since Rosser was a Medal of Honor recipient, he was prevented from making a combat deployment. I’m sure the North Vietnamese breathed a sigh of relief at that news, Rosser’s penchant for avenging his brothers by killing commies being what it is. He retired from the Army in 1968 after hitting his 20 years.

After the Army, Rosser was a letter carrier for the Postal Service for 30 years in West Palm Beach, Florida. He married Sandra and had a daughter. He was the first in his family to complete a college degree, and established the Ron Rosser Public Service Scholarship and the Richard and Gary Rosser Scholarship.

Rosser was also active with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. A major portion of what that group does is speak to kids about service, sacrifice, the cost of freedom, and the meaning behind the medal. He enjoyed traveling the country to speak to children on behalf of the Society.

Shortly before his death, Rosser met with President Trump in the Oval Office. Trump asked him how it felt to be with the President of the United States in the Oval Office, and he replied, “I’ve been in this office with every president since Franklin Roosevelt.” Rosser, like several living Medal of Honor recipients, partook of the standing invite they have to be guests at every presidential inauguration. He had even met with President Kennedy in Florida on 21 November 1963. The president had invited him to join him at some future date on his yacht. The next day Kennedy would be killed in Dallas.

Rosser died in 2020 at the age of 90. He was predeceased by his wife (who died in 2014), but was survived by his daughter, several siblings, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Category: Army, Historical, Korea, Medal of Honor, Valor, We Remember

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That’s comic-book action hero stuff! Unbelievable. An incredible story and incredible man.


Welp, This Hardcore Bad Ass certainly accomplished what he wanted to do, which is, kill a lot of the enemy. Wonder how many he beat to death with them big brass balls? I do believe a Battalion Gun Salute for this Warrior would be most appropriate here.

Outstanding write up, Mason…not that any of us expected any less. Thanks!

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande



Another great read Mason.


Lost a brother in Korea and another in Vietnam. On the one hand, I understand why they denied him permission for a combat assignment in Vietnam but on the other a tiny part of me wishes they’d have let him have it. Perhaps I’m just a little too vengeful.

Anna Puma

He would have taken Hanoi by himself and put Jane Fonda on a leash.


Or shot her as well.