Eleven Kitsap County residents have received the Medal of Honor, five for heroism during World War II.
MACHINIST DONALD K. ROSS, USN (1910-1992). For heroism during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on the USS Nevada (BB-36) and other ships in Pearl Harbor. Working alone in the dynamo room, he continued to supply the power needed to move the battleship out to sea. Attained the rank of captain. He later authored “Nipsic to Nimitz” and “Washington State Men of Valor,” and spoke at Kitsap schools on American history.
BM1 REINHARDT J. KEPPLER, usn (1918-1942). For heroism on Nov. 12-13, 1942 aboard the USS San Francisco (CA-38) during the Solomon Islands campaign. Lost his life keeping a shipboard fire under control. Only recipient of the Medal of Honor, Navy Cross and Purple Heart.
SGT. JOHN D. “BUD” HAWK, USA (1924-2013). For heroism on Aug. 20, 1944 near Chambois, France, when he crushed German troops’ attempts to escape during the Battle of the Falaise Pocket. Later became an elementary school principal in Bremerton. John D. “Bud” Hawk Elementary School in Bremerton is named in his honor.
PVT1 DEXTER J. KERSTETTER, USA (1907-1972). For heroism on April 13, 1945 near Galiano, Luzon, Phillippines, when he led forces in conquering a hill held by Japanese troops. Attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. Employed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 1954-1972. Disabled American Veterans post in Gorst is named in his honor.
LT. RICHARD M. McCOOL JR., USN (1922-2008). For heroism fighting a fire caused by a kamikaze attack on June 10-11, 1945 aboard USS LCS (L-3) 122, off Okinawa. Attained the rank of captain. Lived on Bainbridge Island.