On This Day in Medal of Honor History:
Ronald Rosser (Army, Korea)
During 2019, Freedoms Foundation and the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove will pay tribute to the living recipients of the Medal of Honor on the anniversary of the action for which they received the nation’s highest award for valor. The series continues with a focus on Jan. 12, 1952, and the actions of Cpl. Ronald Rosser during the Korean War. Rosser is honored in the Ohio Area of the Medal of Honor Grove on the campus of Freedoms Foundation.
Ronald Rosser’s Medal of Honor Citation reads:
“Cpl. Rosser, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. While assaulting heavily fortified enemy hill positions, Company L, 38th Infantry Regiment, was stopped by fierce automatic-weapons, small-arms, artillery, and mortar fire. Cpl. Rosser, a forward observer was with the lead platoon of Company L, when it came under fire from 2 directions.
“Cpl. Rosser turned his radio over to his assistant and, disregarding the enemy fire, charged the enemy positions armed with only carbine and a grenade. At the first bunker, he silenced its occupants with a burst from his weapon. Gaining the top of the hill, he killed 2 enemy soldiers, and then went down the trench, killing 5 more as he advanced. He then hurled his grenade into a bunker and shot 2 other soldiers as they emerged. Having exhausted his ammunition, he returned through the enemy fire to obtain more ammunition and grenades and charged the hill once more. Calling on others to follow him, he assaulted 2 more enemy bunkers. Although those who attempted to join him became casualties, Cpl. Rosser once again exhausted his ammunition obtained a new supply, and returning to the hilltop a third time hurled grenades into the enemy positions.
“During this heroic action Cpl. Rosser single-handedly killed at least 13 of the enemy. After exhausting his ammunition he accompanied the withdrawing platoon, and though himself wounded, made several trips across open terrain still under enemy fire to help remove other men injured more seriously than himself. This outstanding soldier’s courageous and selfless devotion to duty is worthy of emulation by all men. He has contributed magnificently to the high traditions of the military service.”
His motivation for serving during the Korean War? Revenge for a brother. “As the oldest of seventeen children, Ronald Rosser always looked out for his brothers and sisters. He joined the Army right after turning 17 in 1946 and served for three years,” Peter Collier writes in Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. “In 1951, he reenlisted because his kid brother was killed early in the Korean conflict and he was bent on revenge. When he was sent to Japan instead of the combat zone, he complained to his commanding officer and was reassigned to a heavy mortar company in the 38th Infantry in Korea. …
“Rosser returned to the States in May 1952 and announced to his mother that he had avenged his brother’s death. After being awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman on June 27, 1952, he decided to stay in the Army.
“In 1968, he lost another brother, this time in Vietnam. When he requested assignment to the combat zone to even his personal score once again, he was refused. ‘If something happened to you, even by accident, it would be hard to explain,’ his commanding officer told him. Rosser retired from the Army soon after.”