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John Edward Kilmer
John E. Kilmer

John Edward Kilmer (August 15, 1930 – August 13, 1952) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of America’s highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his actions in the Korean War.

Kilmer quit high school at seventeen to enlist in the Navy on August 16, 1947 from HoustonTexas. He enlisted as an Apprentice Seaman, and attended Hospital Corps School, San DiegoCalifornia. After graduation in April 1948, he advanced in rate to Hospitalman Apprentice, and then Hospitalman on September 1, 1950.[1]
Kilmer was assigned to the hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16) when war broke out in Korea. His enlistment term expired in August 1951, but he soon rejoined the Navy. After running afoul of a superior, Kilmer chose to be transferred to the Fleet Marine Force. After completing instruction at the Field Medical School at Camp PendletonCalifornia, he joined the 3rd Battalion7th Marines, Fleet Marine Forces.[1]
On August 12, 1952, Kilmer took part in the attack on “Bunker Hill” in Korea. He attended to the wounded during the battle and was himself mortally wounded after using his body to shield another man from enemy fire. For this action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.[1]
On June 18, 1953, Hospitalman Kilmer’s mother, Lois Kilmer, was presented with her son’s Medal of Honor by Secretary of the Navy Robert Bernard Anderson.[1]
Kilmer is buried in San Jose Burial Park, San AntonioTexas.[2]
Kilmer quit high school at seventeen to enlist in the Navy on August 16, 1947 from HoustonTexas. He enlisted as an Apprentice Seaman, and attended Hospital Corps School, San DiegoCalifornia. After graduation in April 1948, he advanced in rate to Hospitalman Apprentice, and then Hospitalman on September 1, 1950.[1]
Kilmer was assigned to the hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16) when war broke out in Korea. His enlistment term expired in August 1951, but he soon rejoined the Navy. After running afoul of a superior, Kilmer chose to be transferred to the Fleet Marine Force. After completing instruction at the Field Medical School at Camp PendletonCalifornia, he joined the 3rd Battalion7th Marines, Fleet Marine Forces.[1]
On August 12, 1952, Kilmer took part in the attack on “Bunker Hill” in Korea. He attended to the wounded during the battle and was himself mortally wounded after using his body to shield another man from enemy fire. For this action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.[1]
On June 18, 1953, Hospitalman Kilmer’s mother, Lois Kilmer, was presented with her son’s Medal of Honor by Secretary of the Navy Robert Bernard Anderson.[1]
Kilmer is buried in San Jose Burial Park, San AntonioTexas.[2]

Medal of Honor citation

z_moh_navy.gif (7974 bytes)
The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
to

*KILMER, JOHN E.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces. With his company engaged in defending a vitally important hill position well forward of the main line of resistance during an assault by large concentrations of hostile troops, HC Kilmer repeatedly braved intense enemy mortar, artillery, and sniper fire to move from 1 position to another, administering aid to the wounded and expediting their evacuation. Painfully wounded himself when struck by mortar fragments while moving to the aid of a casualty, he persisted in his efforts and inched his way to the side of the stricken marine through a hail of enemy shells falling around him. Undaunted by the devastating hostile fire, he skillfully administered first aid to his comrade and, as another mounting barrage of enemy fire shattered the immediate area, unhesitatingly shielded the wounded man with his body. Mortally wounded by flying shrapnel while carrying out this heroic action, HC Kilmer, by his great personal valor and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in saving the life of a comrade, served to inspire all who observed him. His unyielding devotion to duty in the face of heavy odds reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for another.[3]