Pfc. Charles Howard Roan, USMCR
Charles Howard Roan was born August 16, 1923 in Claude, Texas. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corp Reserve on December 12, 1942.
He was killed in action on September 18, 1944 on Peleiu Island, Palau while serving with the Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division against enemy Japanese forces. Shortly after his leader ordered a withdrawal upon discovering that the squad was partly cut off from their company as a result of their rapid advance along an exposed ridge during an aggressive attack on the strongly entrenched enemy, Private First Class Roan and his fellow Marines were suddenly engaged in a furious exchange of hand grenades with Japanese forces emplaced in a cave on higher ground and to the rear of the squad. Seeking protection with four other Marines in a depression in the rocky, broken terrain, Private First Class Roan was wounded by an enemy grenade which fell close to their position, and immediately realizing the imminent peril to his comrades when another grenade landed in the midst of the group, unhesitatingly flung himself upon it, covering it with his body and absorbing the full impact of the explosion. By his prompt action and selfless conduct in the face of almost certain death, he saved the lives of four men, and his great personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.
For his selfless heroism in absorbing the impact of a hand grenade to save the lives of his four companions, Private First Class Roan was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman in July 1945. A United States Navy Destroyer, the USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853) was named in his honor, and was christened in 1946.
A plaque honoring Charles Howard Roan is located in Claude, Texas. The plaque was purchased and donated by the USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853) Association.