Richard B Anderson
Richard was born on the 26th of June, 1921 in Tacoma, Washington and grew up in Agnew which is about two hours north of Tacoma. Here he attended Macleay School and graduated from Sequim High School in 1938. Four years later, Richard enlisted in the US Marine Corps in Oakland, California and after his recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, he was promoted to private first class and eventually joined up with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines which deployed to the Pacific in January of 1944. It was his actions during the invasion of Roi Island at the Battle of Kwajalein that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Fourth Marine Division during action against enemy Japanese forces on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, February 1, 1944. Entering a shell crater occupied by three other Marines, Private First Class Anderson was preparing to throw a grenade at an enemy position when it slipped from his hands and rolled toward the men at the bottom of the hole. With insufficient time to retrieve the armed weapon and throw it, Private First Class Anderson fearlessly chose to sacrifice himself and save his companions by hurling his body upon the grenade and taking the full impact of the explosion. His personal valor and exceptional spirit of loyalty in the face of almost certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Richard was evacuated to a ship where he died from his wounds on the 1st of February, 1944 at the age of 22. Shortly after posthumously receiving the Medal of Honor, a US Navy destroyer was named in his honor. The USS Richard B Anderson was in commission with the US from October of 1945 until December of 1975, having earned 4 battle stars in the Korean War, 11 battle stars in the Vietnam War, 3 Meritorious Unit Commendations, and 5 Combat Action Ribbons. The federal building in Port Angeles, Washington was renamed to the Richard B Anderson Federal Building in 2008 with a reading of a letter written by Harry Pearce during the renaming ceremony; Harry Pearce was one of the three men that Richard had saved. Richard Beatty Anderson is buried in the New Tacoma Cemetery in University Place, Washington; Section 1, Block C, Lot 5.