Medal of Honor Recipients Mourn Passing of Duane E. Dewey

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society today announced that Duane E. Dewey, Medal of Honor recipient, passed away on Oct. 11, 2021, in Saint Augustine, Florida, at the age of 89.

On April 16, 1952, as a corporal with 3rd Squad, Weapons Platoon, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), Dewey was injured by an enemy grenade near Panmunjom, Korea. While he and a fellow machine gunner were being treated by a medic, another grenade landed nearby. Pulling the corpsman to the ground and shouting a warning, Dewey smothered the grenade under his body, telling the corpsman, “Doc, I’ve got it in my hip pocket!” He was credited with saving the lives of the two other men by his daring act of self-sacrifice.

President Eisenhower quipped, “you must have a body of steel,” as he hung the Medal of Honor around his neck.

Corporal Dewey spent 50 days recovering in military hospitals. On March 12, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower quipped, “you must have a body of steel,” as he hung the Medal of Honor around his neck at the White House.

A total of 147 Medals of Honor were awarded for actions during the Korean War, and 108 were awarded posthumously. There are now three living Medal of Honor Recipients from the Korean War.

Dewey was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Nov. 16, 1931. He left school in 1947 and worked on a farm and as a foundry worker at National Motors in South Haven, Michigan, before joining the Marine Corps in 1951. He was discharged in 1952 following his recuperation. In 2011, he told an interviewer, “I got pretty banged up in Korea.”

He returned to South Haven, Michigan, where the community gifted him a newly furnished house in honor of his heroism. He operated his own repair shop for typewriters and office machines until 1973. His later years were split between Florida and his home state of Michigan.

He is survived by his children and numerous other family members. Burial arrangements are pending currently.

About the Congressional Medal of Honor Society
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Medal of Honor and its Recipients, inspiring Americans, and supporting the Recipients as they connect with communities across the country. Chartered by Congress in 1958, its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. There are 67 living Recipients.

The Society carries out its mission through outreach, education and preservation programs, including the Medal of Honor Museum, Congressional Medal of Honor Outreach Programs, the Congressional Medal of Honor Character Development Program, and the Congressional Medal of Honor Citizen Honors Awards for Valor and Service. The Society’s programs and operations are funded by donations.

As part of Public Law 106-83, the Medal of the Honor Memorial Act, the Medal of Honor Museum, which is co-located with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s headquarters on board the U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, was designated as one of three national Medal of Honor sites.

Learn more about the Medal of Honor and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s initiatives at
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