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Skinner Memorial Honors Young Hartford Marine

Once a month, the New Britain City Journal, will take a look at something named in New Britain and find out how it got its name. It could be a street, a building, a park or something else.

When you drive around New Britain have you noticed Skinner Park at the corner of Lincoln and Monroe Streets?

The Sherrod E. Skinner Memorial, Fountain, and Flagpole honors Second Lieutenant Sherrod Emerson Skinner, Jr., of Battery F, 2nd Battalion of the United States Marine Corps Reserve, who was killed in action three days before his 23rd birthday in the Korean Conflict on Oct. 26, 1952.

He was in a vital forward outpost when it was attacked by the enemy under cover of heavy artillery fire. He continued the defense of the position until ammunition was exhausted and then directed his men to pretend to be dead as the enemy overran the position. When a grenade was thrown among the Marines, Skinner heroically threw himself on the live hand grenade to protect his men.

He and his twin brother, David C. Skinner, were born in Hartford and had joined the Marine Corps Reserve together.

His parents were notified by General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, that their son was the 35th Marine to be awarded the nation’s highest decoration since the start of the Korean War. The medal was presented to his parents at the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. by then-Vice President Richard Nixon on September 9, 1953.

Second Lieutenant Skinner’s remains were returned to Arlington National Cemetery for burial in January 1953. He spent most his military time as a forward artillery observer with the 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division.

In addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, 2dLt Skinner was entitled to the Korean Service Medal with one bronze star and the United Nations Service Medal.