The highest honor that can be awarded a man in the military is the Congressional Medal of Honor. About 3,400 of these medals have been awarded to members of the military in the five branches of service since 1861. Elizabethtown has the honor of being the home of record for not one but two such heroes: Lt. Robert Dale Reem of the United States Marine Corps and Sgt. William David Port of the United States Army.
Reem graduated from Elizabethtown High School in June 1943, joined the Marine Corps in August 1943 and was selected to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He graduated in June 1948 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division in Korea in late 1949. He died in combat leading his platoon against the enemy on Nov, 6, 1950, when he covered a grenade with his body to protect his men. His father, Harvey Reem, now deceased, lived in Mount Joy when he passed on. His mother, Erma Reem, was living in Rheems, Pa., where she died.
Port resided in Elizabethtown when he entered the Army. He had been employed by Masonic Homes for a few years, then worked for Klein Chocolate, when he was inducted. His son, Nevin Lloyd Port, was a 1982 graduate of Elizabethtown High School. Port's uncle works at the high school in the warehouse. Port was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, First Cav Division and was killed in Vietnam on Nov, 27, 1968 after sustaining wounds from jumping on a grenade to save his comrades. He is survived by a widow, Mrs. George Cunningham, his son Nevin of Manheim, Pa., and two daughters, Kimberly Ann Port of Annville, Pa., and Kathryn Becker Mason of Harrisburg, Pa.
A project to mount a plaque for both men on the walls in the high school has been proposed, with a targeted dedication on Veterans Day 2013. The monument maker in Maine has offered to do the work at cost to show his appreciation for our Medal of Honor recipients. The cost will be $1,000. The Elizabethtown American Legion is accepting donations to pay for the work. If you are interested in contributing to the installation of the plaque, please send your contribution to: American Legion Post #329, 240 N. Hanover St. Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Make checks payable to American Legion Post #329 and Attn: Mr. Barry Cover; place CMOH in the check memo box.
Tom Taylor, USAR