Latest Medal of Honor

January 29th, 2009

Fellow naval history enthusiasts,

Arguably a little off-topic, but noteworthy nonetheless.

On 20 January, President Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to
Retired Maj. Gen. James L. Day, USMC, for heroism as a corporal in the
battle of Okinawa 54 years earlier. Below is the citation, a copy of
which I received today from the Washington, formatted to conform with
the 1978 Senate compilation of Medals of Honor:

Passing this on to other interested individuals/lists would help
preserve part of the heroism of a desperate period of naval history.

David Riley



Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Born: 5
October 1925, East St. Louis, Ill., Accredited to: Illinois, Other Navy
awards: Silver Star Medal (3), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal,
Purple Heart Medal (6); Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as
a squad leader serving with the Second Battalion, Twenty-Second Marines,
Sixth Marine Division, in sustained combat operations against Japanese
forces on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands from 14 to 17 May 1945. On the first
day, Corporal Day rallied his squad and the remnants of another unit and
led them to a critical position forward of the front lines of Sugar Loaf
Hill. Soon thereafter, they came under an intense mortar and artillery
barrage that was quickly followed by a ferocious ground attack by some
forty Japanese soldiers. Despite the loss of one-half of his men,
Corporal Day remained at the forefront, shouting encouragement, hurling
hand grenades, and directing deadly fire, thereby repelling the
determined enemy. Reinforced by six men, he led his squad in repelling
three fierce night attacks but suffered five additional Marines killed
and one wounded, whom he assisted to safety. Upon hearing nearby calls
for corpsman assistance, Corporal Day braved heavy enemy fire to escort
four seriously wounded Marines, one at a time, to safety. Corporal Day
then manned a light machine gun, assisted by a wounded marine, and
halted another night attack. In this ferocious action, his machine gun
was destroyed, and he suffered multiple white phosphorous and
fragmentation wounds. He reorganized his defensive position in time to
halt a fifth enemy attack with devastating small arms fire. On three
separate occasions, Japanese soldiers closed to within a few feet of his
foxhole but were killed by Corporal Day. During the second day, the
enemy conducted numerous unsuccessful swarming attacks against his
exposed position. When the attacks momentarily subsided, over 70 enemy
dead were counted around his position. On the third day, a wounded and
exhausted Corporal Day repulsed the enemy’s final attack, killing a
dozen enemy soldiers at close range. Having yielded no ground and with
more than 100 enemy dead around his position, Corporal Day preserved the
lives of his fellow Marines and made a significant contribution to the
success of the Okinawa campaign. By his extraordinary heroism, repeated
acts of valor, and quintessential battlefield leadership, Corporal Day
inspired the efforts of his outnumbered Marines to defeat a much larger
enemy force, reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the
highest traditions of the Marine Crops and the United States Naval

Participate in the most “honor”able of hobbies
Join the Orders and Medals Society of America (OMSA)

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