The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

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

Private First Class

United States Marine Corps

Leonard Mason



 For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as an Automatic Rifleman serving with the Second Battalion, Third Marines, Third Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Asan-Adelup Beachhead, Guam, Marianas Islands, on 22 July 1944. Suddenly taken under fire by two enemy machine guns more than fifteen yards away while clearing out hostile positions holding up the advance of his platoon through a narrow gully, Private First Class Mason, alone and entirely on his own initiative, climbed out of the gully and moved parallel to it toward the rear of the enemy position and wounded repeatedly in the arm and shoulder, Private First Class Mason grimly pressed forward and had just reached his objective when hit again by a burst of enemy machine-gun fire, causing a critical wound to which he later succumbed. With valiant disregard for his own peril, he persevered, clearing out the hostile position, killing five Japanese, wounding another and then rejoining his platoon to report the results of his action before consenting to be evacuated. His exceptionally heroic act in the face of almost certain death enabled his platoon to accomplish its mission and reflects the highest credit upon Private First Class Mason and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

President of the United States

Private First Class Leonard F. Mason, 24, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in action when, despite serious wounds, he singlehandedly charged and wiped out an enemy machinegun position on Guam, 22 July 1944. He died of his wounds the following day aboard a hospital ship offshore. An automatic rifleman, he had participated in the initial landing on Guam on 21 July.

Leonard F. Mason was born 22 February 1920, in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and attended public schools there. He later moved to Lima, Ohio, where he worked for the Superior Body Works.

After enlisting in 1942, he trained at Parris Island, South Carolina. He went overseas in October 1943, and took part in combat on Bougainville with the 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, prior to sacrificing his life on Guam. Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal presented the Medal of Honor to PFC Mason's mother with his two sisters witnessing the presentation.

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