Sitter, Carl Leonard
[Capt. CO G1stMR]→

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Carl Leonard Sitter
Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1922-12-02)December 2, 1922
Syracuse, Missouri
Died April 4, 2000(2000-04-04) (aged 77)
Richmond, Virginia
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1940-1970
Rank Colonel

World War II

  • Battle of Guam
  • Battle of Eniwetok

Korean War

  • Battle of Inch'ŏn
  • Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Awards Medal of Honor
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Purple Heart (3)
Other work Virginia Department of Social Services

Carl Leonard Sitter (December 2, 1922 – April 4, 2000) was a highly decorated United States Marine Corps officer and Korean War Medal of Honor recipient.

Marine Corps career

He was born in Syracuse, Missouri, but grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. Upon graduating from Pueblo's Central High School, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on June 22, 1940. He served for eight months in Iceland, then was ordered to the Pacific area. He was serving as a corporal in the Wallis Islands when, on December 12, 1942, he was given a field commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. He later received a regular commission.

Sitter saw combat on Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands, and Guam in the Marianas. He was first wounded on February 20, 1944 on Eniwetok, but went back into action almost immediately.

He was wounded again the following July on Guam, during the action in which he earned the Silver Star. The situation was similar, though on a smaller scale, to the one in which he earned the Medal of Honor: he exposed himself to enemy fire to lead his rifle platoon, and when wounded refused to be evacuated until his mission was accomplished.




Captain Sitter was awarded the Medal of Honor for leadership during a two-day battle at Hagaru-ri, Korea. In the bitter fighting between the Chinese Communists and the surrounded U.N. forces near the Chosin Reservoir in November 1950, Captain Sitter was wounded by hand grenades, but continued to lead his men until he repulsed a counterattack. He is one of four Medal of Honor recipients from Pueblo, Colorado, the others being William J. Crawford, Drew Dennis Dix, and Raymond G. Murphy.

He retired from active duty on June 30, 1970, after reaching the rank of colonel in the Marine Corps.

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Company G, Third Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces at Hagaru-ri, Korea, on 29 and November 30, 1950. Ordered to break through enemy-infested territory to reinforce his Battalion the early morning of November 29, Captain Sitter continuously exposed himself to enemy fire as he led his company forward and, despite twenty-five percent casualties suffered in the furious action, succeeded in driving through to his objective. Assuming the responsibility of attempting to seize and occupy a strategic area occupied by a hostile force of regiment strength deeply entrenched on a snow-covered hill commanding the entire valley southeast of the town, as well as the line of march of friendly troops withdrawing to the south, he reorganized his depleted units the following morning and boldly led them up the steep, frozen hillside under blistering fire, encouraging and redeploying his troops as casualties occurred and directing forward platoons as they continued the drive to the top of the ridge. During the night when a vastly outnumbering enemy launched a sudden, vicious counterattack, setting the hill ablaze with mortar, machine-gun, and automatic weapons fire and taking a heavy toll in troops, Captain Sitter visited each foxhole and gun position, coolly deploying and integrating reinforcing units consisting of service personnel unfamiliar with infantry tactics into a coordinated combat team and instilling in every man the will and determination to hold his position at all costs. With the enemy penetrating his lines in repeated counterattacks which often required hand-to-hand combat and, on one occasion infiltrating to the command post with hand grenades, he fought gallantly with his men in repulsing and killing the fanatic attackers in each encounter. Painfully wounded in the face, arms and chest by bursting grenades, he staunchly refused to be evacuated and continued to fight on until a successful defense of the area was assured with a loss to the enemy of more than fifty percent dead, wounded and captured. His valiant leadership, superb tactics and great personal valor throughout thirty-six hours of bitter combat reflect the highest credit upon Captain Sitter, and the United States Naval Service.


Awards and decorations

Sitter's medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor; the Silver Star Medal; the Legion of Merit; the Purple Heart with two Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards; two Presidential Unit Citations; two Navy Unit Commendations; the Good Conduct Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; the Korean Service Medal with four bronze stars; the United Nations Service Medal; the Chungmu Medal with silver star from the Republic of Korea; and two Korean Presidential Unit Citations. Sitter was also a member of Oasis of Mara Masonic Lodge No 735 in Twentynine Palms, California

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Medal of Honor Silver Star Legion of Merit Purple Heart with two gold stars
Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star Navy Unit Commendation with one bronze star Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars World War II Victory Medal National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star
Korean Service Medal with four bronze stars United Nations Service Medal Chungmu Cordon Medal Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation with one award star

He was also honored as one of seven grand marshals of the 1952 Tournament of Roses Parade. He is one of four soldiers depicted in a sculpture at the Pueblo Medal of Honor Memorial.

Post-Marine Corps career

After 30 years in the Marine Corps, Sitter went to work for the Virginia Department of Social Services. He retired in 1985 at age 63.

In 1998, at age 75, Sitter returned to college, graduating on May 28, 1999 at age 77.

Sitter died in Richmond, Virginia, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.


August 16, 1950

Puller still appreciated anyone who was equally as  eager as he was to do battle.  Due to an excess of officers, Captain Carl L. Sitter faced the prospect of being left behind when his battalion sailed off to war.  He asked to see the regimental commander and told Chesty that he wanted “to go fight.”  He  discovered that “those seemed to be the magic words” and he soon had a billet as the regiments athletics officer.  The senior chaplain also received orders transferring him out of the regiment.  The Reverend Glyn Jones was a veteran of the Pacific campaign and voiced his desire to stay on.  When Chesty’s positive endorsement of the request was rejected by Navy headquarters, the colonel pocked the Baptist minister’s paperwork and told him to get on board the ship as fast as he could.