Farmington Hills, MI - Farmington Hills resident, Korean War veteran and Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Robert Simanek, 90, is being further recognized for his bravery in combat by having a new U.S. Navy ship named in his honor.
Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite recently announced the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Robert E. Simanek, has been ordered, noting it will carry on the Navy's sacred mission to secure the sea lanes, stand by our allies, and protect the United States against all adversaries.
"Mr. Simanek, a long-time Oakland County resident, is the epitome of an American hero," said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. "I'm in awe of his selfless act of bravery nearly 70 years ago and so happy for him and his family today. Not only did he receive the Medal of Honor for his valor, but now a Navy vessel with his namesake will be supporting Marines across the globe."
This ship is currently scheduled to be completed in 2024. Weighing 100,000 tons when fully loaded, the USS Robert E. Simanek will perform a variety of missions, including launching helicopters, small boats, unmanned surface vehicles, special operations, troop transportation and maintenance services.
"I didn't think having a ship named after me would happen," Simanek said. "I was tickled to death when I found out about it."
Simanek was a 22-year old Private 1st Class in 1952, when his squad was ambushed by Chinese troops. Already wounded by shrapnel, he threw himself onto a grenade to absorb the blast and save his fellow soldiers from injury or death. Somehow, he survived while sustaining serious leg wounds. After a nearly year-long recovery, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Simanek enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951. He joined Company F, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines in 1952 as a rifleman and radioman when needed. The honor of having a ship named after him this year is but the latest recognition for service to his country. In addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, he also was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars.