Courage Rewarded
By Fred Frankville USMC
Apr. 6, 2009

About mid April 1951 Dog 7 got two new replacement officers, Captain Alvin Mackin, a World War 2 Marine Air Corps veteran, and 2nd Lt. Lealand Wimpee, also a World War 2 veteran Marine infantry enlisted man who was wounded on Okinawa, he was our new platoon leader. They were like a breath of fresh air, Captain Mackin was our new company commander and he personally introduced himself to the entire company. For us this was unheard of, he was like a big brother we bonded instantly with him.

After I got to know Lt. Wimpee I ask him if it was possible for him as an officer to recommend someone for a citation who was killed some time before he (Lt. Wimpee) arrived. He replied in the affirmative. I then told him about Richard DeWert who we all felt died a real Hero yet for some reason he received no recondition.

I told him I saw DeWert when he was killed and I found two other witnesses who also saw him at other times when he was wounded and still trying to save Marines. The two other witnesses were John Alseth and Robert Gentry. We gave a panoramic view of Richard DeWert's final moments.

The four of us sat in the dirt and wrote up Richard's heroic actions. Lealand then gave this information to Captain Mackin who signed it and sent it up the line and Richard DeWert received the Medal of Honor posthumously.

There is a ship, the USS DeWert FFG-45 named in his honor, also a Navy Hospital at Newport, Rhoad Island, and a clinic at the Marine Cold Weather Base at Bridgeport, California both named for him. There is also a Million Dollar Scholarship Fund at Pepperdine University, a school, a Park, a highway, and more named in his honor. Without all concerned acting in unison to get Richard the recognition he deserved he would have been just a dead Sailor in a box. Dog Company 7th Marines received one Medal of Honor and it was not a Marine, it was a Sailor.
-Fred Frankville USMC

(Courtesy of Fred Frankville USMC)
© 2009 Fred Frankville all rights reserved

 

Some of the men of Dog-7 at the dedication ceremony of the Richard DeWert Medical Clinic at the Marine Cold Weather Base at Bridgeport, California.
Front row from left to right: Colonel Al Mackin, Lt. Colonel Lealon Wimpee, Fred Frankville, Hans Schultz (who
also served in World War 2, a veteran of Iwo Jima), James Titchenal, Charles W. Curley and Art Contreras.
Back row from left to right: Mel Corliss, Jack Larson, Dr. Gonzalo Garza Ph.D and Bob Squires.

(Photo courtesy of Fred Frankville)

 



Page published Apr. 12, 2009



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