NOVI, Mich. – A Navy ship is going to have a very personal connection to an American hero that lives in Metro Detroit.
Robert Simanek, 90, is a veteran of the Korean War. He said he decided to go into the Marines after high school.
Simanek was the second youngest of four boys born on Detroit’s west side. All of them served their country.
“We felt it was our duty,” Simanek said.
Simanek enlisted in the Marines in 1951. After training, he was sent to Korea to serve as a rifleman and as a radioman. He was 22 years old when in April of 1952 he was asked to do a morning patrol north of Seoul and his squad was ambushed by Chinese troops.
Simanek was wounded already when he saw a grenade and jumped on it to save his fellow Marines. For his valor, President Eisenhower awarded him the Medal of Honor at the White House.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Simanek also received the Purple Heart and he was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars.
Upon returning home, Simanek met his wife and raised their daughter. He now lives in a senior living community in Novi. He recently got the news that there will be a U.S. Navy ship named in his honor.
The USS Robert E Simanek has been ordered and will be completed in 2024. It will perform a variety of missions, including launching a helicopter, small boots and assist in troop transportation.
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