Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

March 22, 2005

George H. O'Brien Jr., 78, a Marine lieutenant in the Korean War who was awarded the Medal of Honor for spearheading the capture of a hill despite being wounded, died March 11 in Midland, Texas.

On the night of Oct. 26, 1952, Chinese Communist troops, backed by artillery, besieged Marines holding a fishhook-shaped hill known as the Hook. If the Communists took the hill, the way could have been open for a drive on Seoul, some 35 miles to the south.

Several American positions were overrun, but the next day the Marines counterattacked. Lieutenant O'Brien, commanding a Marine rifle platoon, leapt from his trench, shouted for his men to follow and raced up the hill in the face of small-arms, artillery and mortar fire. He was shot through the arm and thrown to the ground but continued to lead the assault, pausing only to aid a wounded Marine before hurling hand grenades into enemy bunkers.

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