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 Reserve

Joseph Ozbourn



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Browning Automatic Rifleman serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-Third Marines, Fourth Marine Division, during the battle for enemy Japanese-held Tinian Island, Marianas Islands, 30 July 1944. As a member of a platoon assigned the mission of clearing the remaining Japanese troops from dugouts and pillboxes along a tree line, Private Ozbourn, flanked by two men on either side, was moving forward to throw an armed hand grenade into a dugout when a terrific blast from the entrance severely wounded the four men and himself. Unable to throw the grenade into the dugout and with no place to hurl it without endangering the other men, Private Ozbourn unhesitatingly grasped it close to his body and fell upon it, sacrificing his own life to absorb the full impact of the explosion but saving his comrades. His great personal valor and unwavering loyalty reflect the highest credit upon Private Ozbourn and the United States Naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

President of the United States

Private Joseph William Ozbourn was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for sacrificing his life to save his comrades on Tinian in the Marianas, 30 July 1944.

Joseph Ozbourn was born in Herrin, Illinois, 24 October 1919. He attended grammar school in Buckner, Illinois, and subsequently became a trip rider in the mines for the Old Ben Coal Corporation in West Frankfurt, Illinois. He enlisted in the Marine Corps 30 October 1943.

He died after hurling himself on a live hand grenade thus saving the lives of four companions. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Destroyer Ozbourn was commissioned 5 March 1946 at the Boston Naval Shipyard, by Pvt Ozbourn's widow. The ship had been christened by Mrs. Ozbourn 22 December 1945, at the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

Private Ozbourn was initially buried in Tinian, Marianas Islands, but later his remains were reinterred in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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