Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation©
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GUNNERY SERGEANT ROBERT HOWARD MCCARD, USMC (DECEASED)
|World War II
1941-1945 Medal of Honor Recipient
Robert Howard McCard was born in Syracuse, New York, on 25 November 1918. He attended elementary school and two years of high school, where he took a business course. He played both football and baseball in high school. He was employed as a bartender at the Bear Mountain Inn at Iona, New York, before he enlisted in the Marine Corps.
Enlisting in the Marines on 18 December 1939, he was sent to Sea School after he completed boot camp. Upon the successful completion of that school, he went aboard the cruiser USS Tuscaloosa, and served a year at sea. While with the Tuscaloosa, he won a five dollar prize for being a member of the gun crew which placed second in a competition for short range practice with the five-inch anti-aircraft gun. Promoted to private first class on 2 July 1940, he was temporarily made a sergeant when he went on recruiting duty in May 1941.
Assigned to the Central Recruiting District, Sgt McCard served in the Centralia, Illinois, recruiting office.
Reverting to his rank of private first class when he left the recruiting service in December 1941, PFC McCard served at the Great Lakes, Illinois, Naval Training Station for four months and then went to the Training Center at Quantico, Virginia, for a year. He was promoted to corporal in January 1943, and to sergeant in April of the same year. In April, he went to the 4th Tank Battalion of the 4th Marine Division, which was then being formed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It was with this organization that he was to earn the country's highest award - and to lose his life.
Sergeant McCard left the United States on 13 January 1944 and on 31 January landed at Kwajelein in the Marshall Islands. From then until 26 February he took part in the battles of Ennugaret, Ennumennett, and Namur Islands. Leaving the Marshalls, he went to the Hawaiian Islands for two months then sailed for Saipan. D-Day was 15 June 1944. On the 16th, GySgt McCard - he had made platoon sergeant and gunnery sergeant on two successive days in May while acting as platoon sergeant of a tank company - was participating in an advance when his tank was put out of action by a battery of Japanese 77 millimeter guns. Cut off from the rest of his platoon, GySgt McCard brought all his tank's weapons to bear on the enemy but the intensity of the Japanese fire caused him to order his crew out the escape hatch. While they made their escape, the courageous tank commander hurled hand grenades at the enemy until his supply was exhausted. Severely wounded, GySgt McCard nevertheless dismantled one of the tank's machine guns, then faced the enemy again and delivered such effective fire that he killed sixteen of the enemy before he himself was killed. He gallantly gave his life for his country. He was buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery at Saipan, and later reinterred in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in 1948.
For his supreme sacrifice that June day, the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, conferred upon him, posthumously, the greatest military honor, the Medal of Honor. The medal was presented to his widow at Centralia, Illinois, on 10 April 1945, by the Commandant of the 9th Naval District.
Medal of Honor Citation