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Joseph Gordon Clemons , Jr.

Home of record: Baltimore Maryland

Lieutenant Clemons graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1951. His subsequent heroic charge at Pork Chop Hill the following year became the subject of a book by S.L.A. Marshal, and Colonel Clemons was subsequently played by Gregory Peck in the movie rendition of the book.


Distinguished Service Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Joseph Gordon Clemons, Jr., United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as a Platoon Leader in Company K, 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. First Lieutenant Clemons distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Kumhwa, Korea, on 28 October 1952. On that date, Lieutenant Clemons, a platoon leader, led the attack platoon in a counterattack on a vital position which had been overrun earlier that night by the enemy. As the platoon neared the first enemy bunker, Lieutenant Clemons silenced its occupants with accurate and deadly fire and then led the men up the trenches, neutralizing each bunker they encountered. Upon nearing the crest of the objective, the group encountered heavy fire and was forced to withdraw. Discovering that their ammunition was almost exhausted, Lieutenant Clemons divided the remaining supply between the men and then led a volunteer group back into the trenches in a fierce charge, only to be repulsed by the enemy. Displaying superior leadership and aggressiveness, he reorganized the men and urged them into another assault. Constantly exposing himself to hostiles fire, he shouted words of encouragement and engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat, fighting viciously until the numerical superiority of the foe again forced the platoon to withdraw. Lieutenant Clemons superior devotion to duty in leading his men time and again into hand-to-hand combat in the face of overwhelming odds was an inspiration to all those with whom he served.

General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 616 (June 30, 1953)

Action Date: October 28, 1952

Service: Army

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: Company K

Battalion: 3d Battalion

Regiment: 31st Infantry Regiment

Division: 7th Infantry Division