Charles Frank Pendleton MOH

b. 26/09/1931 Camden, Tennessee. d. 17/07/1953 near Choo Gung-Dong, Korea.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 16/07/1953 near Choo Gung-Dong, Korea.

Charles F Pendleton MOH

Pendleton was born September 26, 1931, in Camden, Tennessee, to parents Charles and Viola Pendleton. The family moved to Fort Worth, Texas, when he was still a boy. Pendleton graduated from R.L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth in 1949, then went to what is now the University of North Texas in Denton. While he studied, he also worked part-time as a mail carrier and served in the Texas Army National Guard.

In September 1951, Pendleton married Mary Hubbard, who he’d met the summer before when they worked together filling roller skate orders at a Montgomery Ward department store. Pendleton had planned to finish college and go into the seminary to be a church music director. Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be.

In June 1952, as the Korean War entered its second year, Pendleton was called up to active duty. He was shipped to Fort Hood (now Fort Cavazos), then California for more training before being sent to the Korean peninsula in March 1953 with the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. On the evening of July 16, 1953, Pendleton was a machine gunner with Company D, which was tasked with defending a strategically important hill. Almost as soon as they’d finished setting up a perimeter, a nearby unit was attacked by a much larger enemy force. Quickly, Company D jumped to their aid.

From a trench, Pendleton threw grenades and emptied his machine gun into the foreign fighters as they approached, killing about 15 and throwing off the rest of their mission. However, the trench was too confined for him to protect the unit’s flanks, so he took his machine gun off its tripod, moved into an exposed position, then sat his gun on his knees and started firing.

When an enemy fighter jumped into the trench Pendleton had just left, the young corporal swiveled around and took the man out before he could injure or kill other U.S. soldiers. Pendleton then continued to cause so much damage with his machine gun that the enemy had to retreat. A little while later, the enemy regrouped, and a second wave of soldiers rushed forward to try to overrun the unit’s position. When an enemy grenade landed near Pendleton, he quickly grabbed it and threw it back. Another grenade did explode near him, causing wounds to his chest and shoulder. Pendleton had also been burned by the hot shells ejecting from his machine gun, but he refused medical attention and kept firing at the enemy.

As the action increased in tempo and as night turned into morning, Pendleton’s machine gun was eventually destroyed by a grenade. However, the 21-year-old remained undaunted. He grabbed a carbine rifle and continued to defend his position until he was hit by a mortar burst and killed. Despite his death, Pendleton’s drive and unflinching courage inspired his fellow soldiers to repel the enemy and hold the hill. The Army said when they found Pendleton’s body after the fight was over, he was surrounded by 37 fallen enemies. Ten days later, the armistice was signed, and the hostilities ended.

Pendleton is buried in Laurel Land Memorial Cemetery in Fort Worth. His hometown hasn’t forgotten him. The ROTC wing of his former high school is named in his honor. Pendleton’s Medal of Honor is on display there, too, after his family donated it and his other medals to the school in the 1970s.



Cpl. Pendleton, a machine gunner with Company D, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. After consolidating and establishing a defensive perimeter on a key terrain feature, friendly elements were attacked by a large hostile force. Cpl. Pendleton delivered deadly accurate fire into the approaching troops, killing approximately 15 and disorganizing the remainder with grenades. Unable to protect the flanks because of the narrow confines of the trench, he removed the machine gun from the tripod and, exposed to enemy observation, positioned it on his knee to improve his firing vantage. Observing a hostile infantryman jumping into the position, intent on throwing a grenade at his comrades, he whirled about and killed the attacker, then inflicted such heavy casualties on the enemy force that they retreated to regroup. After reorganizing, a second wave of hostile soldiers moved forward in an attempt to overrun the position and, later, when a hostile grenade landed nearby, Cpl. Pendleton quickly retrieved and hurled it back at the foe. Although he was burned by the hot shells ejecting from his weapon, and he was wounded by a grenade, he refused evacuation and continued to fire on the assaulting force. As enemy action increased in tempo, his machine gun was destroyed by a grenade but, undaunted, he grabbed a carbine and continued his heroic defense until mortally wounded by a mortar burst. Cpl. Pendleton’s unflinching courage, gallant self-sacrifice, and consummate devotion to duty reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the finest traditions of the military service.