Richard W. Durkee

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Co. L 1950-1951, Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart (Deceased 9/14/2004)


Birth:  Sep. 14, 1918
Death:  Sep. 14, 2004

Veteran of World War II and Korean Conflict. During the Korean Conflict, he served as a First Lieutenant in Company L, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross.

Citation: The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to First Lieutenant Richard W. Durkee, Infantry, United States Army, or extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Korea. First Lieutenant Durkee a member of Company L, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy in the vicinity of Uijongbu, Korea. On 23 March 1951, while attacking well defended enemy positions on Hill 221, the 1st Platoon of Company L was subjected to intense small arms fire and pinned down. After ordering the remainder of the platoon to furnish covering fire, Lieutenant Drupe led the 1st squad in an assault on the enemy entrenchment’s. When his ammunition was expended, Lieutenant Durkee single-handedly assaulted an enemy position and killed the occupant with his bayonet. Unable to remove his bayonet from the body of the dead soldier, he went unarmed to another hostile position, seized an enemy soldier’s rifle by the bayonet, wrested the weapon from his hands and clubbed him to death. Although his hand was seriously lacerated during this action, Lieutenant Durkee continued to lead the assault against the enemy and his men, inspired by the fearlessness of their leader, overwhelmed the hostile troops and secured the objective. Lieutenant Durkee’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the and the United States Army.
HQ Eighth US Army Korea, General Orders No. 522 (July 7, 1951)


Photo courtesy of Richard J. O’Donnell Webmaster & National Chairman Family & Friends of the 508th PIR Association

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