John Basilone

11/04/1916 - 02/19/1945

Gunnery Sergeant
United States Marine Corps
Served between:

1940 - 1945

Received the Medal of Honor for actions during the Battle for Henderson Field in the Guadalcanal campaign, and the Navy Cross posthumously for extraordinary heroism during the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was the only enlisted Marine to receive both of these decorations in World War II.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 3, 1940, after serving three years in the United States Army with duty in the Philippines. He was deployed to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in August 1942, he took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal. In October, he and the two machine-gun sections under his command held off an attack by a numerically far superior Japanese force. He was one of only three Marines in that group to survive. His actions at Guadalcanal earned him the Medal of Honor.

In February 1945, he was killed in action on the first day of the invasion of Iwo Jima, after he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield. Including the Medal of Honor, he has received many honors, including having base streets, military facilities, and two United States Navy destroyers named for him.

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