b. 19/10/1920 Abingdon, Illinois. d. 24/03/2000 Illinois.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 20/21/05/1945 Iwo Jima, Japan.
Dunlap was born in Abingdon, Illinois on October 19, 1920. He went to school in Abingdon and graduated from high school 1938. While in high school he was active in football, basketball and was a member of the track team. He also took part in the class plays.
He went on to Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, where he was a prominent football player and trackman. Treasurer of the student body in his senior year, he majored in Economics and Business Administration and minored in Mathematics. He graduated in May 1942 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
He was designated a Parachutist on November 23, 1942 and the next month was assigned to the 3rd Parachute Battalion. Advanced to first lieutenant in April 1943, he took part in the invasions of Vella Lavella and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands during the latter part of 1943.
During the Bougainville campaign, 1stLt Dunlap, while attached to the 1st Parachute Regiment, was awarded a Letter of Commendation (updated to a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal) from Admiral William F. Halsey. On December 9, 1943, his rifle platoon was pinned down by heavy Japanese machine gun fire. As platoon leader, he exposed himself to the heavy fire and was able to rally his depleted platoon and maneuver it into position and reoccupy the lost ground. His commanding officer said of him at that time, "Apparently a very quiet, retiring personality, this officer demonstrated outstanding qualities of battlefield leadership. Skillful, courageous, and tenacious in adversity."
First Lieutenant Dunlap returned to the United States in March 1944 to join the 5th Marine Division then being formed at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California. The veteran officer became a machine gun platoon leader in Company G, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines.
He departed for overseas duty for the second time in the summer of 1944, and on October 2, 1944, was promoted to captain. With his new rank he became Commanding Officer, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, in which capacity he was serving when he earned the Medal of Honor at Iwo Jima.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Company C, First Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 20 and 21 February 1945. Defying uninterrupted blasts of Japanese artillery, mortar, rifle and machine-gun fire, Captain Dunlap led his troops in a determined advance from low ground uphill toward the steep cliffs from which the enemy poured a devastating rain of shrapnel and bullets, steadily inching forward until the tremendous volume of enemy fire from the caves located high to his front temporarily halted his progress. Determined not to yield, he crawled alone approximately 200 yards forward of his front lines, took observation at the base of the cliff 50 yards from Japanese lines, located the enemy gun position and returned to his own lines where he relayed the vital information to supporting artillery and naval gunfire units. Persistently disregarding his own personal safety, he placed himself in an exposed vantage point to direct more accurately the supporting fire and, working without respite for two days and two nights under constant enemy fire, skillfully directed a smashing bombardment against the almost impregnable Japanese positions despite numerous obstacles and heavy Marine casualties. A brilliant leader, Captain Dunlap inspired his men to heroic efforts during this critical phase of the battle and by his cool decision, indomitable fighting spirit and daring tactics in the face of fanatic opposition greatly accelerated the final decisive defeat of Japanese countermeasures in his sector and materially furthered the continued advance of his company. His great personal valor and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice throughout the bitter hostilities reflect the highest credit upon Captain Dunlap and the United States Naval Service.
BURIAL LOCATION: WARREN COUNTY MEMORIAL PARK, MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS.
Crown Hill Section, Lot 28, Grave 3