Skip to comments.George H. O'Brien Jr., 78, Marine Awarded Medal of Honor, Dies
Posted on 03/20/2005 10:43:27 PM PST by neverdem
George H. O'Brien Jr., a Marine lieutenant in the Korean War who was awarded the Medal of Honor for spearheading the capture of an enemy-held hill while wounded by automatic-weapons fire, died on March 11 in Midland, Tex. Mr. O'Brien, who lived in Midland, was 78.
The cause was complications of emphysema, his son George said.
On the night of Oct. 26, 1952, with the Korean War well into its third year, Chinese Communist troops, backed by artillery, besieged marines holding a fishhook-shaped hill known as the Hook. If the Communists took the hill, the way could have been open for a drive on Seoul, the South Korean capital, some 35 miles to the south.
Several American positions were overrun, but the next day the marines counterattacked. Lieutenant O'Brien, commanding a rifle platoon of the Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, leapt from his trench, shouted for his men to follow and raced up the hill in the face of small-arms, artillery and mortar fire. He was shot through the arm and thrown to the ground but continued to lead the assault, pausing only to aid a wounded marine before hurling hand grenades into enemy bunkers.
Then, wielding his carbine in hand-to-hand combat, he killed at least three enemy soldiers. After that, he was knocked down three times by the concussion of grenades hurled at him but refused medical evacuation and continued to lead his platoon in combat over the next four hours.
When his men were relieved by another unit, Lieutenant O'Brien remained in place to cover the withdrawal and ensure that no wounded were left behind.
Lieutenant O'Brien was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Dwight D. Eisenhower one year to the day after his exploits at the Hook for his "exceptionally daring and forceful leadership in the face of overwhelming odds."
George Herman O'Brien, a native of Fort Worth, served in the merchant marine in World War II and received a degree in geology in 1950 from Texas Tech. He enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps Reserve while in college, was later commissioned as a lieutenant and joined the First Marine Division in Korea in September 1952.
After the war, he operated oil and gas wells in Texas and New Mexico as a petroleum geologist.
He is survived by his second wife, Sandra; his sons, George Michael, of Midland, and Robb, of Euless, Tex.; and a daughter, Terrye O'Brien of Austin, Tex., from his marriage to his first wife, Janet, which ended in divorce; his stepchildren, Dick Holland of Midland; Ann Daugherty of Alpine, Tex.; and Dorothy Stillwell of Dallas; a brother, Dr. Joe O'Brien, of Fairfax, Va.; and many grandchildren.
"This Medal of Honor is not mine," Mr. O'Brien told American Veteran magazine in 2003. "I hold it in trust for so many young people who didn't become grandfathers."
Lieutenant George H. O'Brien in 1953.
An American hero now rests in peace.
I pray that God brings comfort to those he leaves behind.
May an American hero rest in peace. Thank you for your service.
May he rest in eternal peace.
Thanks for the link, Currahee!
From the Marine Corps Hymn.....
If the Army and Navy
Ever gaze on Heavn's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
by United States Marines.
Another Marine reporting for duty God
He served his time in hell
Rest in Peace, Lt. O'Brien. May God receive you.
Spoken like the hero he was.