American Heroes - World War II

                                                    Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone

AMH-03 - WWII – US Marines at Iwo Jima  (1pc) - “Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone”.  $52.00
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Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone”

      Marine Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone received the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II  while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division at the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. In February 1945, he received the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima while he was with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division during the invasion of Iwo Jima.

      At Guadalcanal during the Battle for Henderson Field, his unit came under attack by a regiment of 3,000 soldiers from the Japanese Sendai Division. Basilone commanded two  machine gun sections. They fought for the next 2 days holding off charge after charge. Basilone moving guns around was able to maintain heavy fire on the Japanese. As battle raged and supply lines cut off, Basilone fought to re-supply his gunners. By dawn, Basilone fought the Japanese using only a .45 pistol. By the end of the engagement, the Japanese regiment was virtually annihilated.  For his actions, he received The Congressional Medal of Honor. At Iwo Jima, Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone organized machine gunners and  demolition men toward a bunker. He instructed a demolition man to blow a hole in the concrete structure, while others gave cover against other nearby enemy positions. A large explosion went off opening part of the bunker. Basilone then told the machine gunners to hold their fire and directed a flamethrower operator to charge the pit. The flamethrower charged the pit, stuck his nozzle in the pit and ignited the flame. As Japanese soldiers ran out of the pit screaming, they tried to wipe away the jellied gasoline that was burning them. John Basilone cut them down with a machine gun. After knocking out the bunker, Basilone led twenty men off the exposed beach area to a covered location. He ordered the men to stay while he went back to get more men and machine guns. John Basilone gathered some troops and weapons and started back across the beach to the waiting soldiers. But John was hit with a Japanese mortar shell. He died from his wounds around thirty minutes later. For his valor during the battle of Iwo Jima, he was posthumously approved for the Marine Corps' second-highest decoration for bravery, the Navy Cross.

      Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone remains the only soldier (non-officer) in U.S. history to be awarded both The Congressional Medal of Honor and The Navy Cross. He is also the only Medal of Honor winner to go back into combat and be killed in combat.
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