Shea, Richard, 1LT

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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1952-1953, 7th Infantry Division
Service Years
1944 - 1953


First Lieutenant

Three Service Stripes

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGT Donald Shook (Buffalo Grunt) to remember Shea, Richard, 1LT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address

Casualty Date
Jul 08, 1953
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Korean War
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Honorably Discharged WW II

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
17th Infantry Regiment AssociationMedal of Honor Recipients
  1953, 17th Infantry Regiment Association [Verified]1
  2015, Medal of Honor Recipients [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Parachutist (Basic)

 Unit Assignments
US Constabulary Europe1st Battalion, 17th Infantry 7th Infantry Division
  1944-1948, US Constabulary Europe
  1952-1953, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry
  1952-1953, 7th Infantry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1953-1953 Korean War/Third Korean Winter (1952-53)/Battle of Pork Chop Hill
 Colleges Attended 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityUnited States Military Academy
  1944-1944, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  1948-1952, United States Military Academy2
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company A 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Sokkogae, Korea, 6 to 8 July 1953. Entered service at: Portsmouth, Va. Born: 3 January 1927, Portsmouth, Va. G.O. No.: 38, 8 June 1955.

1st Lt. Shea, executive officer, Company A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. On the night of 6 July, he was supervising the reinforcement of defensive positions when the enemy attacked with great numerical superiority. Voluntarily proceeding to the area most threatened, he organized and led a counterattack and, in the bitter fighting which ensued, closed with and killed 2 hostile soldiers with his trench knife. Calmly moving among the men, checking positions, steadying and urging the troops to hold firm, he fought side by side with them throughout the night. Despite heavy losses, the hostile force pressed the assault with determination, and at dawn made an all-out attempt to overrun friendly elements. Charging forward to meet the challenge, 1st Lt. Shea and his gallant men drove back the hostile troops. Elements of Company G joined the defense on the afternoon of 7 July, having lost key personnel through casualties. Immediately integrating these troops into his unit, 1st Lt. Shea rallied a group of 20 men and again charged the enemy. Although wounded in this action, he refused evacuation and continued to lead the counterattack. When the assaulting element was pinned down by heavy machinegun fire, he personally rushed the emplacement and, firing his carbine and lobbing grenades with deadly accuracy, neutralized the weapon and killed 3 of the enemy. With forceful leadership and by his heroic example, 1st Lt. Shea coordinated and directed a holding action throughout the night and the following morning. On 8 July, the enemy attacked again. Despite additional wounds, he launched a determined counterattack and was last seen in close hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. 1st Lt. Shea's inspirational leadership and unflinching courage set an illustrious example of valor to the men of his regiment, reflecting lasting glory upon himself and upholding the noble traditions of the military service.
Shea Stadium was named in honor of Richard Shea, one of West Point's finest athletes and soldiers. A 1952 graduate, Shea enlisted in the Army in 1944 and served as a staff sergeant in the 53rd Constabulary Regiment in Nuremberg, Germany. A native of Portsmouth, Va., he did not compete in cross country until entering the Army, but went on to win the European 1500-meter and 5000m championships.

Shea entered West Point in 1948, served as a cadet captain and was the recipient of the Army Athletic Association Trophy presented to the top senior athlete. He won 16 major intercollegiate middle distance and cross country championships and set seven indoor and outdoor Academy track records. He also qualified for the 1952 Olympic Games in the 10,000m competition.

Shea was assigned to Korea following graduation and died in action on July 8, 1953, at Sokkogae, trying to repel Communist "suicide attacks" during the Korean Conflict. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for wartime bravery, the 77th Medal of Honor awarded during the Korean War.

Richard Shea, Class of 1948, a native of Portsmouth, graduated from Churchland High School. He first studied in uniform at Virginia Tech at the height of World War II. Enlisting in the army, he served as a Sergeant, and entered West Point where he graduated. He was an All American in track and said to have been the greatest track star to attend Virginia Tech (where he ran his first competitive race) or West Point. Turning down the opportunity to attend the Olympics he joined his classmates in the Korean War. Richard Shea received the Medal of Honor for actions as an army first lieutenant at Pork Chop Hill during the Korean War. Fighting outnumbered, he voluntarily proceeded to the area most threatened, organizing and leading a counterattack. During the bitter fighting, he killed two enemy with his trench knife. In over 18 hours of heavy fighting he moved among the defenders of Pork Chop Hill ensuring a successful defense. Leading a counterattack he killed three enemy soldiers single-handedly. Although wounded, he refused evacuation. He was last seen fighting hand-to-hand during yet another counterattack. He left behind a wife and unborn son.

He left behind both a wife and an unborn son. His Medal of Honor was presented to his widow at the parade grounds of Fort Myer, Virginia by Secretary of the Army Robert T. Stevens on May 16, 1955. He is buried at Olive Branch Cemetery in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Shea was an All-American in track and was said to have been the greatest track star to attend West Point. He ran his first competitive race at VPI. One of the West Point Black Knights' most celebrated distance runners, Dick Shea captured Heptagonal and IC4A individual cross country titles in three successive years (1949-51), helping Army to three straight team "Heps" titles during that time. The top performer on Army's dominant cross country team, Shea led the Black Knights to a 19-2 record during his West Point career, a mark that included three straight "shutouts" of arch-rival Navy. He set seven Academy records in indoor and outdoor track and field and established a meet record in the two-mile run at the prestigious Penn Relays in 1951. Shea repeated as the two-mile champ at both the Penn Relays and Heptagonal Championships in 1951 and 1952. His standards in the indoor mile run (4:10) and two-mile run (9:05.8) remained on Army's record books for more than a decade. Since 1952, only eight Army runners have achieved a better time in the mile, either indoors or outdoors. Today, Army's outdoor track and field complex bears his name.

Turning down the opportunity to attend the Olympic Games, after graduating in 1952, he joined his classmates in the Korean War.

He was buried in Olive Branch Cemetery,  Portsmouth, Portsmouth City, Virginia.
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