I have found that it means more to me to pick something to focus on when a holiday like Memorial Day rolls around. This year I picked John Basilone. Sgt. John Basilone, USMC. He earned the Medal of Honor on Guadalcanal in 1942, and volunteered later to return the fighting, ultimately dying of wounds sustained in battle on Iwo Jima in February of 1945. One of 6,821 Marines to die in 5 weeks of combat to take Iwo Jima from the Japanese.
Semper Fi, John. Thank you for putting paid to the bill for my freedom. I can scarcely comprehend the price. Here’s part of a video made in 1945 by the U.S Government Office of War Information.
For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area. Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines’ defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machineguns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone’s sections, with its guncrews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
–The Medal of Honor Citation for John Basilone