Marine of the Week // Took the Grenade Blast and Kept Fighting

Marine of the Week // Took the Grenade Blast and Kept Fighting

Cpl. Richard Weinmaster
2d Battalion, 7th Marines, Marine Corps Forces, Central Command (Forward)
Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
July 8, 2008
Award: Navy Cross

Then-Private First Class Weinmaster’s squad was conducting a dismounted patrol down a narrow side street when enemy forces ambushed the squad with machine gun fire and hand grenades. Upon contact, Private First Class Weinmaster immediately began engaging the enemy positions with his squad automatic weapon. As he delivered suppressive fire and assaulted the enemy, encountering a withering volume of fire that passed within meters of his position, Private First Class Weinmaster saw two hand grenades tossed over a wall land in the middle of his patrol. Noting where one of the grenades landed, he quickly placed himself between the grenade and his fire team leader, using his body to shield both his team leader and several other Marines from the blast, which occurred immediately. Private First Class Weinmaster was seriously injured when the grenade detonated, but his valorous actions prevented his fire team leader from receiving any shrapnel. Although he was critically wounded, Private First Class Weinmaster continued to carry on the attack, engaging enemy forces with accurate automatic weapons fire and forcing them to break contact, until he collapsed from the gravity of his wounds. By his outstanding display of decisive action, unlimited courage in the face of extreme danger, and total dedication to duty, Private First Class Weinmaster reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

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30 comments


  • Gerard J. St. John

    Weinmaster reminds me of Al Schmid, a tough kid from northeast Philadelphia, who landed on Gaudalcanal in the summer of 1942. Al was the low man on a 3-man machine gun crew — he was the ammo carrier. The Japanese reinforced the island with an elite regiment of experienced jungle fighters, and moved toward the Marine positions. Schmid’s machine gun crew was in the middle of the defensive line on the banks of the Ilu River which the Marines called, “Alligator Creek.” The attack was launched at about 0100. The gunner was torn in two by the first flurry of bullets. The crew chief was disabled by wounds to the shoulder. Al Schmid moved up to the gun and took charge. All through the early hours of a banzai attack, Schmid squeezed off burst after burst of machine gun bullets. The enemy regrouped and attacked again and again. It was still dark when one of the attackers threw a grenade that exploded right above the barrel of the machine gun. The blast hit Al full face. One eye was torn apart. The other eye was permanently blinded, and his face looked like hamburger. But Schmid pulled himself back up to the machine gun and continued to fire, now aided by the crew chief who told him to fire “higher,” “lower,” “left,” or “right.” When dawn broke, what was left of the enemy force retreated, leaving an estimated 200 bodies along the banks of the Ilu River in front of Al’s machine gun position. Strange as it seems, no medals were awarded to Al or the other members of his crew until the news media picked up the story from the survivors of the battle. Then, there was a book, “Al Schmid, Marine” and even a movie “Pride of the Marines.” After that publicity, Al received the Navy Cross, as did the gunner and the crew chief. Weinmaster, you are in good company!


  • Sgt Court C Conkwright

    Semper Fi Brother! Job well done, you earned your Cross!


  • Sgt T. K. Shimono

    I agree with the other comments. The actions by this Marine should be the Medal of Honor. Many members of various branches have protected their fellow solders and Marines by jumping pn grenades and won the MOH. Senator Inouye, having lost his right arm to enemy fire, continued fighting on and took out 3 machine gun nest before being taken to the aid station, was given the DSC. This was a racial thing in WW11, but was rectified to a MOH before he passed away. This Marine did an outstanding job and SHOULD have received the Medal of Honor. His actions should be placed before the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Congress and be upgraded to the MOH!!!!


  • Patrick McBride

    SEMPER FI BROTHER. Maybe one day the people that rate what medals people get for doing things above and beyond for others will recognize that these people didn’t have to do what they did. But as a MARINE, you do what your trained to do and that is protect your brothers and sisters to your right and to your left. Marines don’t run from the fight we bring the fight to our enemy.


  • John (Ben) Beninati Former 2nd Force Recon 1958 Camp Geiger

    I salute you and your bravery. You are a fine Marine and I am sure your team holds you in admiration Semper FI Marine


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