b. 26/06/1921 Tacoma, Washington. d. 01/02/1944 Roi Island, Marshall Islands.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 01/02/1944 Roi Islands, Marshall Islands.
Anderson was born in Tacoma, Washington on June 26, 1921 and was raised in Agnew, Washington. He attended Macleay School in Agnew before graduating from Sequim High School in the nearby city of Sequim. He entered the Marine Corps on July 6, 1942 in Oakland, California, receiving his recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. Private Anderson then joined the Marine Barracks, Naval Receiving Station in San Diego in October 1942. Promoted to private first class on April 12, 1943, he was ordered to the Infantry Battalion, Training Center, Camp Elliott, San Diego, shortly afterwards.
He next joined his last unit, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines, and with his unit he departed from the United States in January 1944. The following month he landed in the Marshall Islands, on Roi Island. Roi Island was the first pre-war Japanese territory to fall to Marines. Following the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor, his medal was presented to his parents by Rear Admiral J. A. Taffinder in Seattle, Washington.
In 1945, the United States Navy Destroyer “USS Richard B. Anderson” (DD786) was named in his honor. It served through both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, earning a total of 15 battle stars. In 1977, it was sold to the Taiwanese Navy, where it served under the name “Kai Yang” until 1999.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Fourth Marine Division during action against enemy Japanese forces on Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, February 1, 1944. Entering a shell crater occupied by three other Marines, Private First Class Anderson was preparing to throw a grenade at an enemy position when it slipped from his hands and rolled toward the men at the bottom of the hole. With insufficient time to retrieve the armed weapon and throw it, Private First Class Anderson fearlessly chose to sacrifice himself and save his companions by hurling his body upon the grenade and taking the full impact of the explosion. His personal valor and exceptional spirit of loyalty in the face of almost certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
BURIAL LOCATION: NEW TACOMA CEMETERY, TACOMA, WASHINGTON.
BLOCK C, SECTION 1 GRAVE 182
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.