Master Gunnery Sergeant Richard E. Bush, who received the Medal of Honor as a corporal for heroism on Okinawa in World War II, was born in Glasgow, Kentucky, on 23 December 1924.
Before his enlistment on 22 September 1942 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, he worked for his father as a tractor driver and completed one year of high school. He received his basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, and later was transferred to a replacement battalion at Camp Elliott, California, for further training as an armorer. He later served with the highly decorated Marine Corps Raiders in the Pacific.
On 16 April 1945, Cpl Bush, as squad leader for 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 6th Marine Division, led his men in a charge against an enemy stronghold during the final assault against Mount Yaetake in northern Okinawa. During that action, he ignored his own wounds until ordered to seek treatment. While in the makeshift medical camp, Cpl Bush threw himself upon an enemy grenade that had been hurled among the medical staff and other wounded Marines. On 4 October 1945, President Harry S. Truman, in a White House ceremony, presented Cpl Bush with the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” He also was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received on Okinawa.
In the years following the war, MGySgt Bush worked for the Veterans Administration as a counselor and earned numerous civilian awards for his efforts to aid other veterans despite constant problems with his one functioning eye, a holdover from his World War II wounds.
Master Gunnery Sergeant Bush died of a heart ailment at the age of 79 on 7 June 2004 in Waukegan, Illinois. He was buried in Ascension Catholic Cemetery in Libertyville, Illinois.
World War II Medal of Honor