b. 24/11/1925 Chicago, Illinois. d. 03/10/1944 Palau Islands.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 03/10/1944 Peleliu, Palau Islands.
Richard E. Kraus was born in Chicago, Illinois, on November 24, 1925, and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota when he was seven. He attended Edison High School there and was inducted into the United States Marine Corps on his 18th birthday, after previously trying to enlist.
On the occasion of his heroism and death, he was serving as an amphibious tractor driver with the 8th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, which participated in the D-Day landings on Peleliu. He and three companions had accepted a volunteer mission to evacuate a wounded fellow Marine from the front lines. As the group made their way forward, they were met by an intense barrage of hand grenade fire, which forced them to take cover.
While returning to the rear, the stretcher party observed two men approaching who they believed were Marines. Upon challenging the pair, they proved to be Japanese, and one of the enemy responded by throwing a hand grenade into the midst of the group. PFC Kraus unhesitatingly hurled himself on top of it, and by his prompt action and personal valor in the face of certain death, saved the lives of his three comrades.
Private First Class Kraus had been overseas only three months at the time of the Peleliu battle, which was his first campaign. He was initially buried in the U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery on Peleliu, Palau Islands. Later, in 1948, his remains were reinterred in Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, at his parents' request.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Eighth Amphibian Tractor Battalion, Third Amphibious Corps, Fleet Marine Force, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu, Palau Islands, on 3 October 1944. Unhesitatingly volunteering for the extremely hazardous mission of evacuating a wounded comrade from the front lines, Private First Class Kraus and three companions courageously made their way forward and successfully penetrated the lines for some distance before the enemy opened with an intense, devastating barrage of hand grenades which forced the stretcher party to take cover and subsequently abandon the mission. While returning to the rear, they observed two men approaching who appeared to be Marines and immediately demanded the password. When, instead of answering, one of the two Japanese threw a hand grenade into the midst of the group, Private First Class Kraus heroically flung himself upon the grenade and, covering it with his body, absorbed the full impact of the explosion and was instantly killed. By his prompt action and great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved the lives of his three companions, and his loyal spirit of self-sacrifice reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.
BURIAL LOCATION: FORT SNELLING NATIONAL CEMETERY, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA.
Section DS, Grave 61A
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