David B. Bleak

David Bruce Bleak
Born27 February 1932
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Died23 March 2006 (aged 74)
Arco, Idaho
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1950 – 1953
RankStaff Sergeant
Unit2nd Battalion, 223rd Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division
Battles/warsKorean War
AwardsMedal of Honor
Purple Heart

David Bruce Bleak (27 February 1932 – 23 March 2006) was a soldier of the United States Army during the Korean War. Bleak rose to the rank of staff sergeant and was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration of the United States, for his actions near Minari-gol, South Korea, on 14 June 1952.

Born in Idaho, Bleak dropped out of school to become a combat medic, and was deployed to Korea with the 40th Infantry Division. During a mission north into Chinese territory, Bleak's patrol came under heavy attack from fortified Chinese positions. Despite being wounded himself, Bleak rushed the Chinese troops multiple times and killed five of them—four using only his hands—before assisting the wounded, and shielding another soldier from a grenade blast. Bleak is credited with saving the patrol's wounded and ensuring that all of its members returned to allied lines. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In the years preceding and following his military service, Bleak worked numerous jobs around Idaho and Wyoming, working as a rancher, dairy farmer, truck driver, and meat cutter before retiring as a radioactive waste technician at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. He died in 2006 from emphysema, Parkinson's Disease, and complications from a hip fracture.

Early life

David Bruce Bleak was born on 27 February 1932 to William Bleak and Tamar Bleak (née Young) in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a remote farming community. The seventh of nine children, he dropped out of high school and worked for a time as a farmer and a rancher[1] and also for railroads,[2] but he grew dissatisfied with life in Idaho.[3] He eventually decided to enlist in the US Army, hoping to see the world. Bleak grew to a height of 6.5 feet (2.0 m) tall and weighed 250 pounds (110 kg).[1] He was described as humble and quiet throughout his life.[4] Bleak was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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