Richard G Wilson
Richard was born on the 19th of August, 1931, in Marion, Illinois, and grew up with three brothers and three sisters. At the age of eight, his family moved to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and he attended May Greene School and Central High School. Richard played right guard on the high school football team and after his junior year, he enlisted in the US Army on his seventeenth birthday.
Richard went to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for Basic Training and then Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for combat medic training. He then attended Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he graduated in May of 1949. His first duty station was with the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and on the 29th of August, 1950, Richard and Yvonna Fowler were married. He was then deployed to Korea with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment and it was his actions during a reconnaissance mission on the 21st of October, 1950, that would cost him his life at the age of 19 and earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
Pfc. Wilson distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. As medical aid man attached to Company I, he accompanied the unit during a reconnaissance in force through the hilly country near Opari. The main body of the company was passing through a narrow valley flanked on 3 sides by high hills when the enemy laid down a barrage of mortar, automatic-weapons and small-arms fire. The company suffered a large number of casualties from the intense hostile fire while fighting its way out of the ambush. Pfc. Wilson proceeded at once to move among the wounded and administered aid to them oblivious of the danger to himself, constantly exposing himself to hostile fire. The company commander ordered a withdrawal as the enemy threatened to encircle and isolate the company. As his unit withdrew Private Wilson assisted wounded men to safety and assured himself that none were left behind. After the company had pulled back he learned that a comrade previously thought dead had been seen to be moving and attempting to crawl to safety. Despite the protests of his comrades, unarmed and facing a merciless enemy, Pfc. Wilson returned to the dangerous position in search of his comrade. Two days later a patrol found him lying beside the man he returned to aid. He had been shot several times while trying to shield and administer aid to the wounded man. Pfc. Wilson's superb personal bravery, consummate courage and willing self-sacrifice for his comrades reflect untold glory upon himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of the military service.
Richard's family received his Medal of Honor on the 2nd of August, 1951, and many buildings and memorials bear his name: the Richard G Wilson Memorial Gymnasium in the Kanoka Barracks near Osaka, Japan; the Richard G Wilson Army Reserve Center now in Carbondale, Illinois; the PFC Richard G Wilson Training Barracks in Fort Sam Houston, Texas; the Richard G Wilson Consolidated Troop Medical Clinic in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; the Wilson Theater in Fort Campbell, Kentucky; the Richard G Wilson Marion Police Department in Marion, Illinois, and the Richard G Wilson Elementary School in Fort Benning, Georgia. Richard Gene Wilson is buried in the Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.