Second Lieutenant Sherrod Emerson Skinner, Jr., of East Lansing, Michigan, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for the gallant defense of his outpost on “The Hook” in Korea, at the cost of his life, 26 October 1952.
His parents were notified by Gen Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, that their heroic son was the 35th Marine to be awarded the Nation’s highest decoration since the start of the Korean War.
Second Lieutenant Skinner was a forward artillery observer with the 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in a vital forward outpost when it was attacked by the enemy under cover of heavy artillery fire. He continued the defense of the position until ammunition was exhausted and then directed his men to feign death as the enemy overran the position. When a grenade was thrown among the Marines, he threw himself on it, sacrificing his own life to protect his men.
Second Lieutenant Skinner, who went to Korea in September 1952, was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in his final action. He and his twin brother had joined the Marine Corps Reserve together.
Sherrod Emerson Skinner, Jr. was born 29 October 1929 in Hartford, Connecticut, and attended grammar school in East Lansing. In 1947, he graduated from Milton Academy, Milton, Massachusetts, and entered Harvard University. While at Harvard, he and his twin brother entered the Marine Corps Reserve Platoon Leaders program, serving on active duty during the summers of 1948 and 1949. He was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve on 9 October 1951 and ordered to active duty the following day.
In March 1952, after completing the Marine Officers Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, 2dLt Skinner entered the Battery Officer Course in the Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and completed the artillery course in July 1952. He then trained at Camp Pendleton, California, until he left for Korea.
In addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, 2dLt Skinner was entitled to the Korean Service Medal with one bronze star and the United Nations Service Medal.
Second Lieutenant Skinner’s remains were returned to Arlington National Cemetery for burial in January 1953.
Korean War Medal of Honor