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b. 09/12/1887 Brookville, Indiana.  d. 07/04/1968 San Diego, California.


DATE OF MOH ACTION: 03/07/1916 Guayacanas, Dominican Republic.


Roswell Winans was born December 9, 1887 in Brookville, Indiana and attended high school there. He then worked for two years in Alaska, before enslisted the United States Army in 1908. He served as enlisted man until he was transferred to the United States Marine Corps on October 10, 1912. He later participated in the occupation of Veracruz in April 1914 with 1st Marine Brigade. Winans also received Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal for his enlisted service.


Winans reached the rank of First Sergeant and sailed with 2nd Marine Brigade under Brigadier general Joseph H. Pendleton to Dominican Republic in May 1916. Marines took the cities of Puerto Plata and Monte Cristi on June 1 and Winans participated in the engagement at Guayacanes. He distinguished himself on July 3, 1916, while coolly opened fire with his Colt Gun on the enemy trenches and when the gun jammed, stood up and repaired it under fire. Winans continued firing his gun until the enemy had abandoned the trenches. For this act of valor, he was decorated with the Medal of Honor, the United States highest military decoration.


At the time of American entry into World War I, Winans was commissioned and attached to the 5th Marine Regiment at Quantico. He sailed for France in November 1917 as Captain and assumed command of commanded 17th Company, 1st Battalion.


He commanded his company during the battle of Belleau Wood and distinguished himself during the assault on Hill 1942 for which he was decorated with Silver Star citation. Winans was shot through the foot on June 14, 1918 during German counterattack, but refused to be evacuated until the enemy was repulsed and until he had made a personal inspection of the line and found it secure. Refusing assistance, he proceeded to the rear across the shell-swept fields behind Belleau Wood to the evacuation station, thereby aggravating the injury to his foot. Winans received his second Silver Star citation for this act of bravery.


Winans later rejoined his battalion and participated in the fighting in the Argonne Forest during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Following the Armistice, he marched with his regiment to the Rhineland and participated in the occupation duties in Coblenz.


He later served an the various Marine posts and stations in this country, as well in Philadelphia, Quantico, or Washington D.C.. Winans also participated in the expeditionary duties in Haiti and Nicaragua during 1930s. In 1937, Winans was lieutenant colonel and participated in the defense of Shanghai International Settlement in China.


He was a colonel at the outbreak of World War II, and served as Chief of Staff, Marine Corps Base San Diego until December 1944 and then commanded Marine Barracks at Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot, Nevada. He served in this capacity until the end of April 1946, when he was relieved of duty awaiting retirement. Winans retired on August 1, 1946 and was advanced to the rank of Brigadier General on the retired list for having been specially commended in combat.




During an engagement at Guayacanas on July 3, 1916, 1st Sgt. Winans participated in action against a considerable force of rebels on the line of march. During a running fight of 1,200 yards, our forces reached the enemy entrenchments and Cpl. Joseph A. Glowin, U.S.M.C., placed the machinegun, of which he had charge, behind a large log across the road and immediately opened fire on the trenches. He was struck once but continued firing his gun, but a moment later he was again struck and had to be dragged out of the position into cover. 1st Sgt. Winans, U.S.M.C., then arrived with a Colt's gun which he placed in a most exposed position, coolly opened fire on the trenches and when the gun jammed, stood up and repaired it under fire. All the time Glowin and Winans were handling their guns they were exposed to a very heavy fire which was striking into the logs and around the men, 7 men being wounded and 1 killed within 20 feet. 1st Sgt. Winans continued firing his gun until the enemy had abandoned the trenches.



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Roswell Winans