Robert Maxwell, Medal of Honor recipient and Oregon Legionnaire, passes away at 98

 
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Robert Maxwell, Medal of Honor recipient and Oregon Legionnaire, passes away at 98

Sad news out of Bend, Oregon:

BEND, Ore. - Robert Dale Maxwell, a longtime Bend resident and America's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, has died at the age of 98, a close friend confirmed late Sunday night.

Maxwell passed away Saturday night, having been moved by his daughter to Partner in Care's Hospice House in Bend earlier in the day, said Lyle Hicks of the Central Oregon Band of Brothers.

Maxwell served in the Army during World War II as a communications technician and was seriously wounded in France when he threw himself on a grenade to save the lives of his nearby comrades.

Maxwell, born in Idaho, had lived a quiet life in Bend after a career spent teaching auto mechanics in Bend and Eugene, until notoriety came his way in recent years.

A video from the Medal of Honor Book:

His citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 7 September 1944, near Besancon, France. Technician 5th Grade Maxwell and three other soldiers, armed only with .45-caliber automatic pistols, defended the battalion observation post against an overwhelming onslaught by enemy infantrymen in approximately platoon strength, supported by 20-mm flak and machine-gun fire, who had infiltrated through the battalion's forward companies and were attacking the observation post with machine-gun, machine pistol, and grenade fire at ranges as close as 10 yards. Despite a hail of fire from automatic weapons and grenade launchers, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell aggressively fought off advancing enemy elements and, by his calmness, tenacity, and fortitude, inspired his fellows to continue the unequal struggle. When an enemy hand grenade was thrown in the midst of his squad, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell unhesitatingly hurled himself squarely upon it, using his blanket and his unprotected body to absorb the full force of the explosion. This act of instantaneous heroism permanently maimed Technican 5th Grade Maxwell, but saved the lives of his comrades in arms and facilitated maintenance of vital military communications during the temporary withdrawal of the battalion's forward headquarters.

RIP Sir, Salute.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.