The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the
NAVY CROSS MEDAL posthumous to
ROBERT B. TURNBULL
CAPTAIN, U.S. MARINE CORPS
L Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines,3rd Marine Division
Dates Of Action: Nov 24, 1943
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Captain Robert B. Turnbull , United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service while serving as Executive Officer of Company L, Third Battalion, Third Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy Japanese forces on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, on 24 November 1943. When his company was delayed on the left flank by strong enemy resistance during the furious battle waged at Piva Forks, Captain Turnbull personally reconnoitered the hazardous area, locating two heavily fortified, deeply entrenched machine-gun emplacements. Immediately leading a detachment in a flanking movement, he closed in on the first of the two deadly weapons and, hurling powerful hand grenades, succeeded in annihilating the position. Unable to approach the second installation, he fearlessly exposed himself to the clear view of the Japanese, boldly attracting their merciless, concentrated fire to himself as his automatic riflemen advanced unnoticed to launch a sudden attack and destroy the second machine gun, thereby releasing the left flank from siege and enabling the company to continue the relentless drive against a fanatic and ruthless enemy. Fatally struck down during the fierce action, Captain Turnbull, by his brilliant leadership, expert tactical skill and indomitable fighting spirit in the face of savage, unceasing opposition, contributed essentially to the success of his regiment in annihilating an entire Japanese regiment and to the ultimate conquest of this vital enemy stronghold. His great personal valor and decisive conduct throughout a period of bitter hostilities reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.