Class of 1948B: LT Robert D. Reem

Second Lieutenant Robert Dale Reem’s class ring and Medal of Honor were donated to the Naval Academy Museum in October 1951 by his widow Mrs. Donna Reem. The Herff-Jones Company crafted ring features a gold setting with faceted sapphire stone flanked by the Class of 1948 crest and the Naval Academy seal.

On October 20, 1925 Robert Reem was born to Harvey and Erma Reem in Saint Joseph Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Prior to his 1943 graduation from Elizabethtown High School he served as a page in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Following high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. In October 1943 he completed his recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina and received an appointment to the Naval Academy. He attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School at the Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland, before entering the Academy on June 21, 1944.

Academics were not his strength, forced to be reexamined in multiple courses throughout his 4 years. He did however excel in sports, earning a letter in football his First Class year. Midshipman Reem graduated 723 of 909 midshipmen on June 4, 1948.

Lieutenant Reem’s Lucky Bag bio:

Our friend Bullet arrived in Annapolis from NAPS…clad in the fetching ensemble of the Marine Corps…a uniform he is anxious to redon. For him, the sound of a bell was the signal to hit the sack…a delightful place where he would remain until the next bell started him to class. This system proved confusing during fire drills… Bullet got to most of the classes in good shape. After two years of treatment by sweating Dago profs, he still spoke French like a Mohican, out a week of his second summer leave spent in Bancroft Hall improved his linguistic abilities to the point where he spoke French like a six-month-old native. The Glee Club and Choir will both miss his warbling…Bullet’s bass was famous in the first wing. A full treatment of his dragging activities is beyond the scope of the present text. Sailing and football kept off the radiator squad, and a good part of second class year was spent recovering from the various injuries he received while a member of Colonel English’s eleven. Even as an upperclassman he had one of the reg-gest lockers in Bancroft Hall.[1]

In August 1950, his unit was ordered to Korea, where it joined the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in the September 15 amphibious attack on Inchon. Second Lieutenant Reem led his platoon through the landings and the advance to Seoul, engaging in bitter house-to-house fighting within the city. In October, Second Lieutenant Reem’s unit redeployed to the port of Wonsan in what became the initial drive toward the Chosin Reservoir. On November 6, 1950, Second Lieutenant Reem led his platoon in an attack on a heavily fortified enemy position near Chinhung-ni. In the ensuing battle LT Reem lost his life. Below is his Medal of Honor citation awarded posthumously.

Second Lieutenant Reem was buried in the United Nations Cemetery near Hamhung, North Korea. His body was later returned to the United States for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia, Plot: Section 6, Grave 9376-B. [2]

LT Reem's Medal of Honor is on permanent exhibit at the US Naval Academy Museum.

The President of the United States, in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

SECOND LIEUTENANT ROBERT D. REEM UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS,

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Platoon Commander in Company H, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Chinhung-ni, Korea, on 6 November 1950. Grimly determined to dislodge a group of heavy enemy infantry units occupying well-concealed and strongly fortified positions on commanding ground overlooking unprotected terrain, Second Lieutenant Reem moved slowly forward up the side of the ridge with his platoon in the face of a veritable hail of shattering hostile machine-gun, grenade and rifle fire. Three times repulsed by a resolute enemy force in achieving his objective, and pinned down by the continuing fury of hostile fire, he rallied and regrouped the heroic men in his depleted and disorganized platoon in preparation for a fourth attack. Issuing last-minute orders to his non-commissioned officers when an enemy grenade landed in a depression of rocky ground in which the group was standing. Second Lieutenant Reem unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and, springing upon the deadly missile, absorbed the full impact of the explosion in his own body, thus protecting others from serious injury and possible death, Stout-hearted and indomitable, he readily yielded his own chance of survival that his subordinate leaders might live decisiveness and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Second Lieutenant Reem and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

/S/HARRY S. TRUMAN[3]

References:

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Designed by Jenna Scholz for the CLIO II course at George Mason University. Last updated April 22, 2016.