Medal of Honor Roll Call: John Basilone

John Seda as John Basilone in the 2010 TV movie "The Pacific"

This week another Marine takes the spotlight as we feature the awardees you pick by writing and telling me who you want featured and why. Seems a great number of Marines – largely enlisted as it as it turns out – wanted to see Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone featured. There’s a lot on the web about him, but here’s a starting place: Basilone would later earn the Navy Cross for actions on Iwo Jima. He died there in battle.


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John Basilone
John Basilone


Rank: Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Marine Corps
Unit: 5th Marine Division
Born: 4 November 1916, Buffalo, N.Y.
Place: Guadalcanal


For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area. Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines’ defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machineguns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone’s sections, with its guncrews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.



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