Captain Robert Hugo Dunlap (World War II)
Robert Hugo Dunlap was born on October 19, 1920, in Abingdon, IL. He graduated from Abingdon High School in 1938. In May 1942 he graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, IL, where he majored in Economics and Business Administration and minored in Mathematics. While at Monmouth College he played on the football team and ran track. He also served as Treasurer of the student body in his senior year.
While attending Monmouth College, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve. Upon graduation he was called to active duty and assigned to the Officers Candidates Class at Quantico, VA. On July 18, 1942, Robert H. Dunlap was commissioned a second lieutenant. On November 23, 1942, he graduated from Parachute Training School. As a first lieutenant, he took part in the invasions of Vella Lavella and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands during the later part of 1943.
First Lieutenant Dunlap returned to the United States in the spring of 1944 to join the 5th Marine Division then being formed. As a combat-experienced officer he became a machine gun platoon leader in Company G, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines. A few months later he departed for combat duty for the second time. He was promoted to captain in October 1944.
As Commanding Officer, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during the Iwo Jima campaign, on the day following the original landing of February 19, 1945, Captain Dunlap led his company through heavy artillery, mortar, rifle, and machine gun fire in a determined advance off the low ground uphill toward the protection of the steep cliffs. When the enemy fire finally became too intense to advance any farther toward the caves located high to the front, Captain Dunlap held up his company and crawled alone approximately 200 yards forward of his front lines.
From this position at the base of the cliff, about 50 yards from the Japanese lines, the captain spotted the enemy gun positions. He returned to his own lines and relayed vital targeting information to the supporting artillery and naval gunfire units. Persistently disregarding his own safety, he then placed himself in an exposed vantage point to direct a more accurate supporting fire. Captain Dunlap worked without respite for two days and two nights under constant enemy fire, skillfully directing a smashing bombardment against the almost impregnable enemy positions. During this battle, his company suffered heavy casualties, but by his inspiring leadership and indomitable fight spirit Captain Dunlap spurred his men on to heroic effort which resulted in the final decisive defeat of Japanese in that area.
One week later Captain Dunlap was wounded by a bullet in the left hip. He was evacuated from Iwo Jima and spent nearly 14 months recuperating. President Harry S. Truman awarded the Medal of Honor to Captain Dunlap in ceremonies at the White House on December 18, 1945. Captain Dunlap was discharged from the Great Lakes Naval Hospital on April 20, 1946. He went on inactive duty in September 1946 and was retired with the rank of major on December 1, 1946.
Robert H. Dunlap’s National number is 105475 and his Illinois Society number is 5507. His Patriot ancestor was Colonel Johnathan Latimer of New London, CT, who served as an officer in the Continental Army. He signed his application on January 13, 1973. His occupation is listed as “School Teacher.” Interestingly, he is a cousin of another Compatriot Medal of Honor recipient, James Bond Stockdale. Major Robert H. Dunlap died on March 24, 2000 at the age of 79. He is buried in Warren Country Memorial Park in Monmouth, IL.