b. 25/12/1930 Melrose, Massachusetts. d. 20/09/1950 Korea.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 17/09/1950 near Sosa-ri, Korea.
Walter Carleton Monegan Jr. was born on December 25, 1930, in Melrose, Massachusetts. He attended schools in Malden, Reading, and Walpole, Massachusetts, and in November 1947 (before his seventeenth birthday), enlisted in the Army. He was discharged in January 1948, when his age was discovered, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on March 22, 1948, in Baltimore, Maryland.
After completing his recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, in June 1948, Monegan was ordered to San Francisco, where he sailed for duty in China with the 3rd Marines at Qingdao.
He returned to the United States in June 1949 and was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California, until June 1950, when he was ordered to the Marine Barracks, Naval Air Station, Seattle. While in Seattle, Monegan married. His son is Walt Monegan.
He re-enlisted on July 20, 1950, and the following month returned to Camp Pendleton, where he joined the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. Monegan shipped out to Korea where he participated in the Inchon Landing on September 15, 1950. His unit then moved on toward Seoul. Five days later, outside of Seoul near Sosa-ri, he was killed in action as he stopped an enemy three-tank attack, with infantry.
He was originally buried in Inchon, Korea, but was reinterred on July 19, 1951, in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his widow on February 8, 1952 at The Pentagon by Under Secretary of the Navy, Francis P. Whitehair.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rocket gunner attached to Company F, and in action against enemy aggressor forces. Dug in on a hill overlooking the main Seoul highway when six enemy tanks threatened to break through the battalion position during a predawn attack on 17 September, Pfc. Monegan promptly moved forward with his bazooka, under heavy hostile automatic-weapons fire and engaged the lead tank at a range of less than 50 yards. After scoring a direct hit and killing the sole surviving tankman with his carbine as he came through the escape hatch, he boldly fired two more rounds of ammunition at the oncoming tanks, disorganizing the attack and enabling our tank crews to continue blasting with their 90-mm guns. With his own and an adjacent company’s position threatened by annihilation when an overwhelming enemy tank-infantry force bypassed the area and proceeded toward the battalion command post during the early morning of September 20, he seized his rocket launcher and, in total darkness, charged down the slope of the hill where the tanks had broken through. Quick to act when an illuminating shell lit the area, he scored a direct hit on one of the tanks as hostile rifle and automatic-weapons fire raked the area at close-range. Again exposing himself, he fired another round to destroy a second tank and, as the rear tank turned to retreat, stood upright to fire and was fatally struck down by hostile machine-gun fire when another illuminating shell silhouetted him against the sky. Pfc. Monegan’s daring initiative, gallant fighting spirit, and courageous devotion to duty were contributing factors in the success of his company in repelling the enemy, and his self-sacrificing efforts throughout sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
BURIAL LOCATION: ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.
SECTION 34, GRAVE 4513.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.