The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in the Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on October 24 and 25, 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marine's defensive positions, Sergeant Basilone, in charge of two sections of heavy machine guns, 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 Sergeant Basilone's sections, with its gun crews, was put out of action, leaving only two 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, Sergeant 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 a 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 United States Naval Service.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
Footnote: Sergeant John "Manila John" Basilone was one of the first Marines to be awarded the Medal of Honor of World War 2. Anyone that has been stationed at or visited the Marine Base, Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California has traveled on the road named for him. Basilone Road.
There are many other things that could be noted on this web page, but the author suggests to those interested, request and read the booklet circulated by UNICO NATIONAL Somerville Chapter at P.O. Box 901, Somerville, NJ 08876.
It is a booklet that covers every aspect of Manila John's actions resulting in the awarding Sergeant Basilone the Congressional Medal of Honor as well as a insight to the man himself.
Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, of Raritan, New Jersey, was awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of his outstanding heroism at Guadalcanal. Later, during the Iwo Jima campaign, he was killed in action on D-Day, 19 February 1945.
At Guadalcanal, where he was serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, he used a machine gun and a pistol to kill 38 of the enemy from his emplacement and earn the nation's highest military decoration.
At Iwo Jima, GySgt Basilone again distinguished himself, single-handedly destroying a Japanese blockhouse while braving smashing bombardment of enemy heavy caliber fire. For his exploit he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. While at Iwo Jima he was attached to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 5th Marine Division.
Son of an Italian-born father, he spent nearly six years in the U.S. Armed Forces, and was a sergeant at the time he was awarded the Medal of Honor. The citation accompanying his Medal of Honor was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The story about the 38 Japanese bodies comes from PFC Nash W. Phillips, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, who was in the same unit with Sgt Basilone on Guadalcanal.
"Basilone had a machine gun on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest or food," PFC Phillips recounted. "He was in a good emplacement, and causing the Japs lots of trouble, not only firing his machine gun but also using his pistol."
Gunnery Sergeant Basilone's buddies on Guadalcanal called him "Manila John" because he had served with the Army in the Philippines before enlisting in the Marine Corps.
He was one of a family of ten children. Born in Buffalo, New York, on 4 November 1916, he went to St. Bernard Parochial School in Raritan and enlisted in the Army at the age of 18. After completing his three-year enlistment he came home and went to work as a truck driver in Reisterstown, Maryland.
In July 1940 he enlisted in the Marine Corps in Baltimore, Maryland. Before going to the Solomon Islands he saw service at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in addition to training at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia; Parris Island, South Carolina; and New River (Later Camp Lejeune), North Carolina.
Following World War II, GySgt Basilone's remains were reinterred in the Arlington National Cemetery, and in July 1949, the USS Basilone, a destroyer, was commissioned in his honor at the Boston Naval Shipyard.
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