Robert Hugo Dunlap was born in Abingdon, Illinois, on October 19, 1920. He graduated from Monmouth College in May 1942 with a degree in Economics and Business.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve on March 5, 1942 while still a student at Monmouth. He was called to active duty in May 1942 and transferred to the Officer Candidates Class at Quantico, Virginia. He underwent parachute training and was assigned to the 3d Parachute Battalion.
On February 22, 1945, while leading his squad through heavy small arms and artillery fire in an assault on a strongly defended enemy position, Sergeant Allen and his men became isolated in front of his platoon which received heavy casualties, including the Platoon Leader.
Advancing to 1st Lieutenant in April 1943, he took part in the invasions of Vella LaVella and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. He returned to the United States in March 1944 to join the 5th Marine Division. On October 2, 1944, he was promoted to Captain and became Commanding Officer, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines.
The day after the Iwo Jima landing, Dunlap led his company through a hail of artillery, mortar, rifle and machine gun fire uphill toward a series of steep cliffs and enemy-held caves. When finally the volume of enemy fire became too intense to advance, Captain Dunlap held up his company and crawled alone approximately 200 yards forward of his front lines, while his men watched in fear and admiration.
From this position at the base of a cliff, about 50 yards from the Japanese lines, Dunlap spotted the enemy gun positions and returned to his own lines to relay the vital information. He worked without rest for two days and two nights under constant enemy fire, skillfully directing attacks against the almost impregnable enemy positions.
On February 26, Dunlap was shot in the left hip and evacuated from Iwo Jima. The Medal of Honor was awarded by President Harry S. Truman to Captain Dunlap in ceremonies at the White House. He retired with the rank of major on December 1, 1946. Major Dunlap passed away on March 24, 2000, and was laid to rest in Warren County Memorial Park in Monmouth, Illinois.