John E. Kilmer

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John Edward Kilmer
John E Kilmer.jpg
John E. Kilmer
Nickname(s) Jackie
Born (1930-08-15)August 15, 1930
Highland Park, Illinois
Died August 13, 1952(1952-08-13) (aged 21)
Killed in action in Korea
Place of burial San Jose Burial Park, San Antonio, Texas
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1947 - 1952
Rank Hospitalman
Unit 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor

John Edward Kilmer (August 15, 1930 – August 13, 1952) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of America's highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his actions in the Korean War.


Kilmer quit high school at seventeen to enlist in the Navy on August 16, 1947 from Houston, Texas. He enlisted as an Apprentice Seaman, and attended Hospital Corps School, San Diego, California. After graduation in April 1948, he advanced in rate to Hospitalman Apprentice, and then Hospitalman on September 1, 1950.[1]

Kilmer was assigned to the hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16) when war broke out in Korea. His enlistment term expired in August 1951, but he soon rejoined the Navy. After running afoul of a superior, Kilmer chose to be transferred to the Fleet Marine Force. After completing instruction at the Field Medical School at Camp Pendleton, California, he joined the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, Fleet Marine Forces.[1]

On August 12, 1952, Kilmer took part in the attack on "Bunker Hill" in Korea. He attended to the wounded during the battle and was himself mortally wounded after using his body to shield another man from enemy fire. For this action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.[1]

On June 18, 1953, Hospitalman Kilmer's mother, Lois Kilmer, was presented with her son's Medal of Honor by Secretary of the Navy Robert Bernard Anderson.[1]

Kilmer is buried in San Jose Burial Park, San Antonio, Texas.[2]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Hospital Corpsman Kilmer's official citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces. With his company engaged in defending a vitally important hill position well forward of the main line of resistance during an assault by large concentrations of hostile troops, HC Kilmer repeatedly braved intense enemy mortar, artillery, and sniper fire to move from 1 position to another, administering aid to the wounded and expediting their evacuation. Painfully wounded himself when struck by mortar fragments while moving to the aid of a casualty, he persisted in his efforts and inched his way to the side of the stricken marine through a hail of enemy shells falling around him. Undaunted by the devastating hostile fire, he skillfully administered first aid to his comrade and, as another mounting barrage of enemy fire shattered the immediate area, unhesitatingly shielded the wounded man with his body. Mortally wounded by flying shrapnel while carrying out this heroic action, HC Kilmer, by his great personal valor and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in saving the life of a comrade, served to inspire all who observed him. His unyielding devotion to duty in the face of heavy odds reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for another.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "John Edward Kilmer - Medal of Honor recipient". The Hall of Honor. National Naval Medical Center. Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  2. ^ "John E. Kilmer". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  3. ^ "Korean War Medal of Honor recipients". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. 2005-09-26. Retrieved 2006-10-02.