HOLLY, Mich. --
Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Robert Simanek was laid to rest alongside his wife Nancy Simanek at the Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly, Michigan, on Aug. 12.
Friends and family gathered to watch a service conducted by Marines from Marine Barracks, Washington, located in Quantico, Virginia. They were joined by SgtMaj Timothy Babcock the inspector-instructor sergeant major from 1st Battalion 24th Marine Regiment and Brig. Gen Douglas K Clark, commanding general of 4th Marine Division. "For the I&I, it's a primary mission to support military funeral Honors for Marines whether they serve four years, eight years, 20 years, or receive the Medal of Honor," said Babcock. "As long as the Marine gets an honorable discharge it's the Commandant's Intention that those Marines receive military honors when the family request them."
Simanek enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951 and was deployed to Korea in 1952 with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. At the age of 22 he demonstrated unwavering courage as he dove on a live grenade to save his fellow Marines and lived to tell the story.
“We will always remember and honor our Marines like Pfc. Simanek who distinguished themselves with valor defending the greatest country in the world”.Brig. Gen Douglas K Clark, Commanding General, 4th Marine Division
In October 1953, Simanek was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Dwight D Eisenhower. Simanek's Medal of honor citation read in part, "Determined to save his comrades when a hostile grenade was hurled into their midst, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his body and shielding his fellow Marines from serious injury or death.” Most of the injuries Simanek sustained were to his leg. He was treated for severe nerve damage aboard USS Haven in Japan and was later flown to Great Lakes, Illinois, to begin a yearlong recovery journey.
After he recovered, he graduated from the University of Michigan. He married his wife Nancy, and had they had their daughter Ann. Simanek worked in several Business positions before retiring in 1992. Simanek spent his later years in in Novi, Michigan, until his death at the age of 92. The commandant of the Marine Corps makes an effort to attend all Medal of Honor Funerals to pay respect and Honor them. If he is Unable to attend another general officer will go in is place. "Today, I served as the commandant's representative at the funeral of an American hero, Pfc. Robert Simanek," said Clark. "It is important to continue this tradition because the Medal of Honor is the U.S.’s highest and most prestigious military decoration. We will always remember and honor our Marines like Pfc. Simanek who distinguished themselves with valor defending the greatest country in the world"
Former Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite announced in January 2021 the next Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base ship will be named after Simanek in 2024.
Medal of Honor Recipient Pfc. Robert E. Simanek Laid to Rest
Photo by Lance Cpl. Ashley Corbo
Marines from Marine Barracks Washington, fold an American Flag in honor of Medal of Honor Recipient Pfc. Robert E. Simanek (retired), at the Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly, Michigan Aug. 21, 2022. Simanek enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951 and was deployed to Korea in 1952. At the age of 22 he jumped on a live grenade to save his fellow Marines and lived to tell the story. In October of 1953, Simanek was awarded the medal of honor by President Dwight D Eisenhower. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ashley Corbo)
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