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Basilone John

Name:
John Basilone
Rank:
Gunnery Sergeant
Serial Number:
Unit:
7th Marines
Date of Death:
1945-02-19
State:
New Jersey
Cemetery:
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot:
Section 12
Row:
Grave:
384
Decoration:
Medal of HonorNavy Cross for Valor
Comments:

Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was a US Marine during the Second World War fighting in the Pacific Theater of Operations. As a Sergeant, during the Battle of Guadalcanal (Operation Watchtower) while serving with Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, he won the Medal Of Honor. The citation for the Medal of Honor reads: “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.” Gunnery Sergeant surviving the battle of Guadalcanal later earned the Navy Cross posthumously during he battle of Iwo Jima (Operation Detachment) while serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division. The citation for the Navy Cross reads: “For extraordinary heroism while serving as a leader of a Machine-Gun Section of Company C, First Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in Action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945. Shrewdly gauging the tactical situation shortly after landing when his company’s advance was held up by the concentrated fire of heavily fortified Japanese blockhouse, Gunnery Sergeant Basilone boldly defied The smashing bombardment of heavy caliber fire to work his way around the flank and up to a position directly on top of the blockhouse and then, attacking With grenades and demolitions, single-handedly destroyed the entire hostile strongpoint and its defending garrison. Consistently daring and aggressive as he fought his way over the battle-torn beach and up the sloping, gun-studded terraces toward Airfield Number One, he repeatedly exposed himself to the blasting fury of exploding shells and later in the day coolly proceeded to the aid of a friendly tank which had been trapped in an enemy mine field under intense mortar and artillery Barrages, skillfully guiding the heavy vehicle over the hazardous terrain to safety, despite the overwhelming volume of hostile fire. In the forefront of the assault at all times, he pushed forward with dauntless courage and iron determination until, moving upon the edge of the airfield, he fell, instantly by a bursting mortar shell. Stout-hearted and indomitable, Gunnery Sergeant Basilone by his intrepid initiative, outstanding professional skill and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of fanatic opposition, contributed materially to the advance of his company during the early critical period of the assault, and his unwavering devotion to his comrades and reflects the highest credit upon Gunnery Sergeant Basilone and the United States Naval Service.” His military service and actions were portrayed in the 2010 HBO series “Pacific”. The city of Colle Sannita, his father's birthplace, named a street in honor of him.