The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

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

Pharmacist's Mate Second Class

United States Naval Reserve

William Halyburton Jr.




For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a Marine Rifle Company in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines,  1st Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain on 19 May 1945.Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of Japanese counterfire as hit unit pushed the attack through a strategically important draw, Petty officer Halyburton unhesitatingly dashed across the draw and up the hill into an open fireswept field where the Company advance squad was suddenly pinned down under a terrific concentration of mortar, machinegun, and sniper fire with resultant severe casualties.  Moving steadily forward despite the enemy's merciless barrage, he reached the wounded Marine who lay farthest away and was rendering first aid when his patient was struck for the second time by a Japanese bullet.  Instantly placing himself in direct line of fire, Petty Officer Halyburton shielded the fallen fighter with his own body and staunchly continued his ministrations although constantly menaced by the slashing fury of shrapnel and bullet falling on all sides.  Alert, determined, and completely unselfish in his concern for the helpless Marine, he persevered in his efforts until he himself sustained mortal wounds and collapsed, heroically sacrificing himself that his comrade might live.  By his outstanding valor, uncommon initiative, and unwavering dedication to duty, Petty officer Halyburton reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.  He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

William David Halyburton, Jr. (2 October 1924 – 10 May 1945), was a native of Canton, North Carolina, and he was a graduate of New Hanover High School, Wilmington, N.C.. His enrollment at Davidson College, Davidson, N.C., where he planned to prepare himself for the ministry, was put aside to go into the United States Navy during World War II.

Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class Halyburton was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism while serving with the 5th Marines, during the Battle of Okinawa. He is now buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1981, the guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG-40) was named in his honor.

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