Richard Edward Kraus MOH

b. 24/11/1925 Chicago, Illinois. d. 05/10/1944 Peleliu Island, Palau Islands.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 05/10/1944 Peleliu Island, Palau Islands.

Richard E Kraus MOH

Pfc. Kraus was born in Chicago on November 24, 1925. At age seven, his family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he attended Edison High School. He was inducted into the United States Marine Corps on his 18th birthday, after previously trying to enlist.

In July 1944, his unit shipped out for service in the Pacific Theatre and arrived at Pavuvu Island on August 20 and began preparing there for the invasion of Peleliu. On October 3, he was serving as an amphibian tractor driver with a detachment of the 8th Amphibian Tractor Battalion, attached to the 1st Marine Division since the September 15 D-Day landings on Peleliu. Kraus and three companions had accepted a volunteer mission that day to evacuate a wounded Marine from the front lines. As the group made their way forward, they were met by an intense barrage of enemy hand grenades, which forced them to take cover and abandon their mission.

While returning to the rear, the stretcher party observed two men approaching them who they believed were fellow Marines. Upon challenging the pair, they proved to be Japanese soldiers, and one of them responded by throwing a hand grenade into the midst of the group. Pfc. Kraus unhesitatingly hurled himself on top of the grenade and absorbed the blast, saving the lives of his three comrades.

Kraus had been overseas for three months at the time of the Peleliu battle, which was his first campaign. He was initially buried in the U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery on Peleliu, Palau Islands. In 1948, his remains were reinterred at his parents’ request in Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Ft. Snelling, Minnesota.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 8th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu, Palau Islands on 5 October 1944. Unhesitatingly volunteering for the extremely hazardous mission of evacuating a wounded comrade from the front lines, Pfc. Kraus and three companions courageously made their way forward and successfully penetrated the lines for some distance before the enemy opened with an intense, devastating barrage of hand grenades which forced the stretcher party to take cover and subsequently abandon the mission. While returning to the rear, they observed two men approaching who appeared to be marines and immediately demanded the password. When, instead of answering, one of the two Japanese threw a hand grenade into the midst of the group, Pfc. Kraus heroically flung himself upon the grenade and, covering it with his body, absorbed the full impact of the explosion and was instantly killed. By his prompt action and great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved the lives of his three companions, and his loyal spirit of self-sacrifice reflects the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.