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David Bernard Champagne
Champagne D.jpgA light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.

Corporal David Bernard Champagne (November 13, 1932 – May 28, 1952) was the 29th U.S. Marine to receive the Medal of Honor during the Korean War, at the sacrifice of his life.

Champagne attended public schools in Wakefield and worked at the local community theatre prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corps on March 7, 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts. He received recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, and then was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. After being transferred to the 1st Marine Division in Korea, he participated in three campaigns before being mortally wounded.
On May 28, 1952, Corporal Champagne, a fire team leader, advanced with his platoon in the initial assault on a strongly fortified and heavily defended enemy hill position. He successfully led his team through enemy grenade, small-arms, and machine gun fire to the crest of the hill. Although wounded in the encounter, he refused evacuation.
The enemy counterattack intensified and a grenade landed in the midst of Champagne’s team. Without hesitation, he seized the grenade and threw it at the enemy. It exploded as it left his hand and hurled him out of the trench. While thus exposed to enemy mortar fire, he was mortally wounded.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Champagne was awarded posthumously the Purple Heart. He also held the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars, and the United Nations Service Medal.
Corporal Champagne’s Medal of Honor was presented to his 15-year-old brother by General R.H. Ridgely, Jr., during presentation ceremonies held at the Old Mountain Baseball Field in Wakefield, in July 1953.

Medal of Honor citation

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The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


 For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Fire Team Leader of Company A, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on May 28, 1952. Advancing with his platoon in the initial assault of the company against a strongly fortified and heavily defended hill position, Corporal Champagne skillfully led his fire team through a veritable hail of intense enemy machine-gun, small-arms and grenade fire, overrunning trenches and a series of almost impregnable bunker positions before reaching the crest of the hill and placing his men in defensive positions. Suffering a painful leg wound while assisting in repelling the ensuing hostile counterattack, which was launched under cover of a murderous hail of mortar and artillery fire, he steadfastly refused evacuation and fearlessly continued to control his fire team. When the enemy counterattack increased in intensity, and a hostile grenade landed in the midst of the fire team, Corporal Champagne unhesitatingly seized the deadly missile and hurled it in the direction of the approaching enemy. As the grenade left his hand, it exploded, blowing off his hand and throwing him out of the trench. Mortally wounded by enemy mortar fire while in this exposed position, Corporal Champagne, by his valiant leadership, fortitude and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death, undoubtedly saved the lives of several of his fellow Marines. His heroic actions served to inspire all who observed him and reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.