1LT Robert M. Horan

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Co. B 1950, Silver Star, Purple Heart, West Point Graduate-1945; Died of wounds 10/17/1950

Article:

SILVER STAR CITATION

FIRST LIEUTENANT ROBERT M. HORAN, 027704, Infantry, Company “B”, 65th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division, United States Army. On 17 October 1950, Lieutenant Horan volunteered to lead a motorized patrol from Ch’up’ungnyong-ni, Korea to investigate a report that another company of the regiment was engaged in an intense fire fight with an estimated enemy force of three hundred men, and to render assistance to the besieged company or request any additional support required. Enroute, at Tommak-tong, Korea, Lieutenant Horan’s patrol engaged the enemy, inflicted considerable casualties, and captured two of the enemy. When the enemy had been routed, Lieutenant Horan personally led his patrol in pursuit. Although in this gallant action, undertaken without regard for his personal safety, Lieutenant Horan was mortally wounded by the enemy. His aggressive leadership inspired his men to complete their pursuit and destruction of the enemy. Lieutenant Horan’s outstanding initiative and heroism on this occasion are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service. Entered the military service from the State of Wisconsin.  GENERAL ORDERS # 18 – 25 January 1951.

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BE THOU AT PEACE

Bob Horan’s death was a shock to all who knew him as a loyal friend and a very fine officer.

Bob’s life after graduation from West Point seems to have revolved around Korea. While Bob was still a cadet he often spoke of his intense desire to be with the first troops to enter Korea. His reason was his father, Colonel J. P. Horan, who was being held prisoner by the Japanese in Korea. Colonel Horan had escaped capture at Bataan, but, after leading guerrilla forces of an Igorot Filipino tribe through three months of action, was captured by the Japanese. Colonel Horan was liberated shortly after VJ Day, but Bob’s destiny was to be in the country of the “morning calm”, and he was assigned to the 7th Division in Korea.

It was in this country that Bob met Pat, his wife to be. She was an Army nurse. They were married in Ewha College Chapel in Seoul on December 1, 1946. The world situation was quickly assuming a false facade of peace, and in October 1947 Pat and Bob returned to the U.S. Their first son, Terry, was born at Fort Hood, Texas, on January 19, 1948, while Bob was with the 45th Armored Infantry Battalion.

Bob loved the bliss of family life and it wasn’t disturbing to him to learn in July 1948 that he was going to Fort Buchanan, Peurto Rico, for there his family could be with him. The next two years were happy ones for Pat and Bob. A second son, Bruce, was born on November 5, 1949, and their glow of happiness could be felt by all who knew them.

Bob was not dismayed when the small black cloud a long way off in Korea exploded into war. He was not dismayed when the 65th Infantry, to which he was assigned, was alerted for Korea. Bob was a soldier to the marrow, with duty uppermost in his mind. He had studied and trained hard to prepare himself for the final test of an officer—battle. His duty was clear.

Bob landed in Korea with the 65th Infantry in August 1950. On the morning of October 17, 1950, Bob led elements of Company B to assist units of the 1st Battalion, who were engaged with the enemy and had become hard pressed. Company B turned the tide and the enemy withdrew. Bob was leading the pursuit when he was mortally wounded by a sniper. Although badly hurt, he was conscious and cheerful. His last words were of love for his family.

Bob’s Battalion Commander said of him, “He carried the respect of all the officers and men that were with him, for his ability and his bravery, not only physically but mentally. He showed great mental courage in his action against the enemy after he was wounded”.

Bob’s promotion to Captain came on the day he was killed, October 17, 1950.

His loss was eased to some extent by General MacArthur’s letter to Pat in which he said, “Our faith enables us to withstand the shock and grief of death we know that no life is really lost for those who have faith in God”.

—A. P. Hanket

Copied from West Point website: https://www.westpointaog.org/memorial-article?id=ff53abe5-89bd-4377-b3f2-dd9ebf2158f6

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