18 year old Thomas A. Christensen, Jr., enlisted in the Navy as a Dental Technician, but found himself assigned serving alongside Marines in Korea as their Corpsman. On the drive towards the Chosin Reservoir, Christensen and his unit guarded a railroad train as it was stopped on the tracks. A large force of Chinese ambushed the idle train, and several Marines fell wounded. Christensen ignored the enemy fire and moved through the area treating wounded and pulling them to cover. Despite being hit himself, Christensen continued his care until the Chinese attacked a second time. At point blank range, Christensen was hit again and mortally wounded. For his heroic effort to save the Marines beside him, Christensen was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. He was the first dental technician in history to receive the award.
“…serving as a Corpsman attached to the First Amphibian Tractor Battalion, FIRST Marine Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Kowan, Korea on 6 November 1950. Dentalman Christensen was serving as a Corpsman with a railroad train guard when the train was ambushed by a strong enemy force while stopped in Kowan, Korea. The train was subjected to heavy enemy fire and numerous casualties were suffered. With absolute disregard for his own personal safety, he fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire to treat wounded Marines and move them to positions of cover. When the enemy attacked the train the second time, he was mortally wounded by enemy fire and gallantly gave his life for his country. His aggressive actions, while subjected to intense enemy fire were an inspiration to all who observed him.”
We honor you, Thomas Christensen, Jr.