“Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone”
John Basilone received the
Honor for his actions at the
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,
Division during the
At Guadalcanal during the
Henderson Field, his unit came
under attack by a regiment of 3,000 soldiers from the Japanese
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
Congressional Medal of Honor.
At Iwo Jima,
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
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.