Richard De Wert was born on November 17, 1931 in Taunton, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1948. Following recruit training and Hospital Corps training at NS Great Lakes, Illinois, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia, during 1949-1950. In July 1950, he joined the Fleet Marine Force and soon sailed for the Far East to take part in the Korean War. Landing with the First Marine Division at Inchon in September 1950, Hospitalman De Wert participated in operations to liberate the city of Seoul. During the rest of 1950, he was involved in the landings at Wonsan, the Chosin Reservoir Campaign and the Hungnam Evacuation.In 1951, Hospitalman De Wert served with the Marines as they cleared North Korean guerrillas from rural areas of South Korea and as they helped drive the enemy beyond the Thirty-Eighth Parallel.On April 5, 1951, while with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines during an attack on Chinese Communist forces, De Wert persistently, and in spite of his own wounds, moved through fire-swept ground to aid fallen Marines.He was killed in action while administering first aid to an injured comrade.For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a[n] HC, in action against enemy aggressor forces.
When a fire team from the point platoon of his company was pinned down by a deadly barrage of hostile automatic weapons fire and suffered many casualties, HC Dewert rushed to the assistance of 1 of the more seriously wounded and, despite a painful leg wound sustained while dragging the stricken marine to safety, steadfastly refused medical treatment for himself and immediately dashed back through the fire swept area to carry a second wounded man out of the line of fire.BRIDGEPORT , Calif. — Sailors, Marines, civilians and veterans of foreign wars gathered at Naval Hospital Branch Medical Clinic Bridgeport the morning of Oct. 1 for the solemn ceremony of dedicating the clinic for Hospitalman Richard D. DeWert, a Navy hospital corpsman who received the Medal of Honor for his selfless actions in combat.DeWert was assigned to D Company, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division during the Korean War. That unit, known as “Dog 7,” was located at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. DeWert’s brother William, a former Marine, attended the ceremony and cut the ribbon to officially dedicate the clinic.
According to the Richard D. DeWert Branch Medical Clinic Senior Enlisted Leader, Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Fred Kasper, the clinic staff wanted to rename the clinic after a Navy hospital corpsman who received the Medal of Honor. The clinic serves the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center which was established in 1951 to train personnel for the Korean War so they decided on DeWert because he served with the Marines during that war.
The ceremony featured guest speakers from “Dog 7” who fought in Korea with DeWert on Apr. 5, 1951. On that day, D Company was pinned down by enemy gunfire and began taking heavy losses. Despite being shot several times, DeWert repeatedly ventured into harm’s way to help injured Marines. The fourth time he ran to a Marine’s aid, he was mortally wounded and fell over the Marine, shielding him from harm in his final act.Posthumously, DeWert became one of fewer than 3,500 members of the U. S. Armed Forces to receive the Medal of Honor, only 137 of whom are still living. Since its creation in 1861, the medal has been the highest award a Coast Guardsman, Airman, Soldier, Marine or Sailor can receive.
Dr. Gonzalo Garza, a former Marine, was with DeWert on that fateful day and said that he was “a dedicated corpsman devoted to his duty.”
“After he’d gotten shot and people were telling him to protect himself, he shouted back, “You do your job, and I’ll do mine!” Garza said. “That’s the kind of guy he was. Richard DeWert is a true American hero.”
In addition to guest speakers, artist Todd Krasovetz unveiled the original painting of DeWert that he created for the clinic. He said DeWert epitomizes the relationship between corpsmen and Marines. Krasovetz has already made several paintings, “Wings of Hope” and “The New American Pride” for Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.
“My brother is a hospital corpsman serving in Iraq so this hits close to home for me,” Krasovetz said. “It was an honor to be here today, especially with all these veterans telling their stories of Richard DeWert.
“And to even be considered to paint a Medal of Honor recipient was something I could have never imagined,” Krasovetz added.