From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Robert Renneman '51

Date of birth: December 23, 1926

Date of death: June 16, 1952

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1951 Lucky Bag:


From Find A Grave:

Robert Adam Renneman was born on December 23, 1926, son of George and Madeline Renneman, He enlisted in the Army in April, 1945 and gave up a commission as a Lt of Infantry to enter the US Naval Academy in 1947, where he was a outstanding tackle on the football team, playing in the famous 14-2 upset of a powerful Army team in 1950. Much too tall for a commission in the Navy Line, he was commissioned in the U. S. Army upon graduation in 1951. His Lucky Bag bio asserts that his goal was a regular commission in the Marine Corps; it is unknown why he did not receive one. Perhaps the USMC quota for the class was filled before his turn to choose a service.

He served with 3rd Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Division a group called the Blue Buffaloes.

Called the Blue Buffaloes, 3rd Battalion shared part of the 17th's Main Line of Resistance in the Kumwah Valley near Chorwon -- a location where enemy troops had been causing severe problems for nearby U.S. forces, Rockwell (narrator of the source for this sketch) recalled.

He went on to tell how 1st Lt. Renneman was ordered to assault the enemy's position with the intent of destroying it and returning with prisoners for interrogation.

The attack began on the morning of July 16, 1952, and Renneman's platoon led the assault. Taking massive small-arms fire from the entrenched Chinese troops, Renneman was injured several times as he fired his weapon with one hand and tossed enemy grenades back at them with the other.

When he finally fell from his injuries, he was so far ahead of his soldiers they were unable to retrieve his body before they withdrew.

The following day, when the U.S. troops were allowed to enter enemy lines unmolested to recover Renneman's remains, they discovered that his body had been preserved.

Not only had their commander's body not been booby-trapped, but he had been cleaned, his uniform repaired of damages. Both his boots and class ring were left intact.

With it they found a note inscribed, "Brave soldier. Take him home."

Renneman was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and his companions -- the West Point Class of 1951 -- inducted him as an honorary member.

Lt. Renneman was buried at Zion Episcopal Church, Douglaston, Queens County, NY on September 6, 1952. (ref. burial record of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Port Washington, NY - Renneman's family lived in Port Washington at the time of his death, and he was buried by the Rector of St. Stephen's)


Ish's older brother, George, was killed in an aircraft accident in 1944.

Class of 1951

Robert is one of 48 members of the Class of 1951 on Virtual Memorial Hall.