Robert B. Nett

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Robert B. Nett
Robert Nett.jpg
Robert Nett
Born(1922-06-13)June 13, 1922
New Haven, Connecticut
DiedOctober 19, 2008(2008-10-19) (aged 86)
Fort Benning, Georgia
Allegiance USA
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1940–1978
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Unit2nd Battalion, 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division

Robert Burton Nett (June 13, 1922 – October 19, 2008)[1][2][3] was a United States Army officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the campaign to recapture the Philippines in World War II.

Early life[edit]

A resident of New Haven, Connecticut, Nett enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1940 at age 17. The minimum enlistment age was 18 years, but Nett was able to join by creasing his birth certificate so that his year of birth was obscured.[4] Two years later, he was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia,[4] where he was graduated from Officer Candidate School. Nett was then sent to the Philippines, where he met his future wife, Frances, an Army nurse.[5]

World War II[edit]

By December 14, 1944, Nett was a lieutenant in Company E of the 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division. On that day, near Cognon, Leyte, during the Battle of Ormoc Bay, Nett led his company in an assault against a heavily fortified Japanese position. Despite being seriously wounded twice in hand-to-hand fighting, he continued to lead his men until being wounded a third time. After making arrangements for the leadership of his company, he left the front lines to seek medical aid.[6]

Nett was able to rejoin his unit for the Okinawa Campaign. His division was then sent to Cebu and began training for the planned invasion of Japan.[5] The operation was canceled after the surrender of Japan in August 1945.

On February 8, 1946, Nett was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Cognon.[6] A ceremony was held in his hometown of New Haven, and President Harry S. Truman was to have presented him with the medal there, but had to cancel in order to attend to the formation of the United Nations in California, Nett told a reporter.[4]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Nett's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

He commanded Company E in an attack against a reinforced enemy battalion which had held up the American advance for 2 days from its entrenched positions around a 3-story concrete building. With another infantry company and armored vehicles, Company E advanced against heavy machinegun and other automatic weapons fire with Lt. Nett spearheading the assault against the strongpoint. During the fierce hand-to-hand encounter which ensued, he killed 7 deeply entrenched Japanese with his rifle and bayonet and, although seriously wounded, gallantly continued to lead his men forward, refusing to relinquish his command. Again he was severely wounded, but, still unwilling to retire, pressed ahead with his troops to assure the capture of the objective. Wounded once more in the final assault, he calmly made all arrangements for the resumption of the advance, turned over his command to another officer, and then walked unaided to the rear for medical treatment. By his remarkable courage in continuing forward through sheer determination despite successive wounds, Lt. Nett provided an inspiring example for his men and was instrumental in the capture of a vital strongpoint.[6]

Postwar life[edit]

Nett continued to serve in the Army after the war. He also served in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. In 1978 Nett Retired from the Army at the rank of Colonel. He gave frequent talks on leadership and duty, lecturing to every class of the Officer Candidate School (OCS); he was frequently invited to speak to the Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning. He is considered the "Father of the Officer Candidate School".[5]

He was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame and the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for OCS graduates who received the Medal of Honor or rose to the rank of colonel. After his retirement, he spent 17 years as a teacher in the Columbus, Georgia, school system.[7]

Nett died on October 19, 2008. He was survived by his wife, Frances, of Columbus, Georgia.[4] Their son, Robert Nett Jr., also served in the U.S. Army.[5]


See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ Ledger Enquirer Obituary
  2. ^ Col Nett Obituary
  3. ^ Official DoD obituary
  4. ^ a b c d Spunt, David (2008-10-13). "Colonel Robert B. Nett Shares Story of His Army Life". WRBL. Retrieved 2008-10-15.[dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e Walsh, Mick (2007-01-30). "A Soldier's Soldier". Ledger-Enquirer. Archived from the original on 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  6. ^ a b c "Medal of Honor recipients – World War II (M-S)". United States Army Center of Military History. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  7. ^ "Highly decorated veteran of 3 wars," Los Angeles Times,October 25, 2008, page B-5.
  8. ^ COL(R) Robert B. Nett Leadership Award Archived 2013-12-15 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Robert B. Nett Medal of Honor Hwy[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Nett Leadership Hall
  11. ^ Nett Warrior production contract Archived 2010-12-17 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Nett Warrior system". Archived from the original on 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2012-02-04.

External links[edit]