The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
"For extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Leader of an Assault Platoon, attached to Company G, Third Battalion, Twenty-seventh Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces at Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 27 February 1945. With the advance of his company toward Hill 362 disrupted by vicious machine-gun fire from a forward position which guarded the approaches to this key enemy stronghold, Gunnery Sergeant Walsh fearlessly charged at the head of his platoon against the Japanese entrenched on the ridge above him, utterly oblivious to the unrelenting fury of hostile automatic weapons fire and hand grenades employed with fanatic desperation to smash his daring assault. Thrown back by the enemy's savage resistence, he once again led his men in a seemingly impossible attack up the steep, rocky slope, boldly defiant of the annihilating streams of bullets which saturated the area. Despite his own casualty losses and the overwhelming advantage held by the Japanese in superior numbers and dominant position, he gained the ridge's top only to be subjected to an intense barrage of hand grenades thrown by the remaining Japanese staging a suicidal last stand on the reverse slope. When one of the grenades fell in the midst of his surviving men, huddled together in a small trench, Gunnery Sergeant Walsh, in a final valiant act of complete self-sacrifice, instantly threw himself upon the deadly bomb, absorbing with his own body the full and terrific force of the explosion. Through his extraordinary initiative and inspiring valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved his comrades from injury and possible loss of life and enabled his company to seize and hold this vital enemy position. He gallantly gave his life for his country."
William Gary Walsh was born on 7 April 1922 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve from that state in April 1942, received recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina and advanced training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Transferred to the Pacific war zone, he was assigned to a Marine Raider unit and participated in the Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands and Gilbert Islands Campaigns of 1942 and 1943. In 1944 he was assigned to the Fifth Marine Division and promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.
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