Born on October 29, 1929 in Hartford, Connecticut, he received the Medal of Honor while serving with the US Marine Corps in Korea on October 26, 1952, where he was killed in action. He was temporarily buried in Korea and his body was returned to the United States in January 1953 where it was buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery.
He was the 35th Marine to be awared the Medal of Honor for service in Korea.
Marine Second Lieutenant Sherrod Emerson Skinner, Jr., of East Lansing, Michigan, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for the gallant defense of his outpost on “The Hook” in Korea, at the cost of his life, October 26, 1952.
His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sherrod E. Skinner, of East Lansing, were notified by General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, that their heroic son was the 35th Marine to be awarded the Nation’s highest decoration since the start of the Korean War.
Lieutenant Skinner was a forward artillery observer with the 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in a vital forward outpost when it was attacked by the enemy under cover of heavy artillery fire. He continued the defense of the position until ammunition was exhausted and then directed his men to feign death as the enemy overran the position. When a grenade was thrown among the Marines, he threw himself on it, sacrificing his own life to protect his men.
Lieutenant Skinner, who went to Korea in September 1952, was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in his final action. He and his twin brother, David C. Skinner, had joined the Marine Corps Reserve together.
The late Lieutenant Skinner was born October 29, 1929, at Hartford, Connecticut, and attended grammar school in East Lansing. In 1947, he graduated from Milton Academy, Milton, Massachusetts, and entered Harvard University. While at Harvard he and David entered the Marine Corps Reserve Platoon Leaders program, serving on active duty during the summers of 1948 and 1949. He was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve on October 9, 1951, and was ordered to active duty the following day.
In March 1952, after completing the Marine Officers Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, Lieutenant Skinner entered the Battery Officer Course in the Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and completed the artillery course in July 1952. He then trained at Camp Pendleton, California, until he left for Korea.
In addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, Lieutenant Skinner was entitled to the Korean Service Medal with one bronze star and the United Nations Service Medal.
Survivors include his parents; twin brother, David; and two sisters, Mrs. Peter N. Sherrill, and Mrs. Don A. Cargill. Lieutenant Skinner’s remains were returned to Arlington National Cemetery for burial in January 1953.
SKINNER, SHERROD E., JR.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Battery F, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Korea, 26 October 1952. Entered service at: East Lansing, Michigan. Born: 29 October 1929, Hartford, Connecticut.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as an artillery forward observer of Battery F, in action against enemy aggressor forces on the night of 26 October 1952. When his
observation post in an extremely critical and vital sector of the main line of resistance was subjected to a sudden and fanatical attack by hostile forces, supported by a devastating barrage of artillery and mortar fire which completely severed communication lines connecting the outpost with friendly firing batteries, 2d Lt. Skinner, in a determined effort to hold his position, immediately organized and directed the surviving personnel in the defense of the outpost, continuing to call down fire on the enemy by means of radio alone until his equipment became damaged beyond repair. Undaunted by the intense hostile barrage and the rapidly-closing attackers, he twice left the protection of his bunker in order to direct accurate machine gun fire and to replenish the depleted supply of ammunition and grenades. Although painfully wounded on each occasion, he steadfastly refused medical aid until the rest of the men received treatment. As the ground attack reached its climax, he gallantly directed the final defense until the meager supply of ammunition was exhausted and the position overrun. During the 3 hours that the outpost was occupied by the enemy, several grenades were thrown into the bunker which served as protection for 2d Lt. Skinner and his remaining comrades. Realizing that there was no chance for other than passive resistance, he directed his men
to feign death even though the hostile troops entered the bunker and searched their persons. Later, when an enemy grenade was thrown between him and 2 other survivors, he immediately threw himself on the deadly missile in an effort to protect the others, absorbing the full force of the explosion and sacrificing his life for his comrades. By his indomitable fighting spirit, superb leadership, and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, 2d Lt. Skinner served to inspire his fellow marines in their heroic stand against the enemy and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
Sherrod Emerson Skinner, Jr.
Born at Hartford, Connecticut, October 29, 1929. Second Lieutenant, US Marine Corps . Killed in Action October 26, 1952 in Korea. Second Lieutenant Skinner was a forward observer with Battery F, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division. On October 26, 1952 during the “Battle of the Hook” in Korea, he led a forward observer outpost directing fire on the advancing enemy. As his outpost was about to be overrun, he delivered machine gun fire on the enemy. When an enemy grenade fell in the outpost, he fell upon it to protect his comrades. For his leadership and great valor, Second Lieutenant Skinner was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart posthumously.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard