The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

United States Marine Corps
Charles Berry



Corporal Charles J. Berry
United States Marine Corps

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of a Machine-gun Crew, serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 3 March 1945. Stationed in the front lines, Corporal Berry manned his weapon with alert readiness as he maintained a constant vigil with other members of his gun crew during the hazardous night hours. When infiltrating Japanese soldiers launched a surprise attack shortly after midnight in an attempt to overrun his position, he engaged in a pitched hand grenade duel, returning the dangerous weapons with prompt and deadly accuracvy until an enemy grenade landed in the foxhole. Determined to save his comrades, he unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself  and immediately dived on the deadly missle, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting the others from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, Corporal Berry fearlessly yielded his own life that his fellow Marines might carry on the relentless battle against a ruthless enemy and his superb valor and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Harry S. Truman
President of the United States

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty during the Iwo Jima campaign, Cpl Charles J. Berry was posthumously awarded the nation's highest military decoration for bravery, the Medal of Honor.

Serving with a machine gun crew with the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, Cpl Berry chose to sacrifice himself to save his fellow Marines when he dived on an enemy grenade that had landed in their foxhole.

Charles Joseph Berry was born in Lorain, Ohio, on 10 July 1923. He graduated from Clearview High School in 1941, then went to work as a truck driver for a moving concern.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in Cleveland, Ohio, on 1 October 1941 when he was 18 years of age. Following his enlistment, he was ordered to Parris Island, South Carolina, where he received his recruit training.

Following the completion of recruit training, he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Quantico,Virginia, but shortly afterwards was ordered to the Marine Barracks, New River, North Carolina, where he entered parachute training. After qualifying as a parachutist, he was promoted to private first class on 2 June 1942.

He sailed from San Diego, California, on 11 March 1943, and arrived in New Caledonia later that month. With the 1st Parachute Battalion, he left New Caledonia in September 1943. He arrived in the Solomon Islands a few weeks after his departure, and in October 1943, went to Vella La Vella, where he remained for one month.

In November 1943 he landed at Bougainville, and during that campaign, took part in the raid at Koairi Beach and in the Empress Augusta Bay action. Prior to returning to the United States in February 1944, he spent a short time at Guadalcanal.

Following his arrival at Camp Elliott, San Diego, he joined the newly organized 5th Marine Division in early 1944. In July he departed for the Hawaiian Islands with that division. He was advanced to corporal on 22 July 1944.

He landed on Iwo Jima on D-Day, 19 February 1945, and was killed in action on 3 March 1945, during the action which earned him the Medal of Honor. Intially buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima, he was reinterred in Elmwood Cemetery, Lorain, Ohio, in 1948.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Cpl Berry was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart; Presidential Unit Citation; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

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