Pharmacist's Mate Second Class
William D. Halyburton, USNR, (1924-1945)



William David Halyburton, Jr. was born on 2 August 1924 in Canton, North Carolina. He attended Davidson College at Davidson, North Carolina before enlisting in the U.S. Naval Reserve from that state in August 1943. Completing recruit training at Naval Training Station, Bainbridge, Maryland, he was promoted to Seaman Second Class in the fall. Remaining in the area, he attended the Hospital Corps School and was rated a Pharmacist's Mate Third Class. Receiving additional training, he was promoted to Pharmacist's Mate Second Class and departed for the Pacific war zone in December 1944 on board the transport USS General M. M. Patrick. Arriving in the area, he joined the Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division.

On 10 May 1945, Halyburton served with a Marine Rifle Company against the Japanese on Okinawa Shima when they suffered numerous casualties after advancing into Awacha Draw. Exposed to enemy fire, he bravely rushed to aid a fallen Marine the furthest away. Shielding the man with his own body while administering aid, Halyburton was mortally wounded, sacrificing himself to save his comrade. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. William D. Halyburton, Jr. is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Honolulu, Hawaii

USS Halyburton (FFG-40), 1981-____, is named in honor of Pharmacist's Mate Second Class William D. Halyburton.

This page features the only images we have concerning William D. Halyburton.


Click photograph for a larger image

Photo #: NH 84954

Pharmacist's Mate Second Class William D. Halyburton, Jr., USNR


Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 198.
William D. Halyburton, Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" while serving with a Marine Rifle Company in the Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division during action against Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Chain, 10 May 1945.

NHHC Command

Online Image: 69KB; 580 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 106211

Pharmacist's Mate Second Class William D. Halyburton, Jr., USNR


Retouched photograph is possibly from an identification card used while attending training after his enlistment in August 1943.
William D. Halyburton, Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" while serving with a Marine Rifle Company in the Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division during action against Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Chain, 10 May 1945.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval History and Heritage Command

Online Image: 53KB; 580 x 765 pixels

 



Medal of Honor citation of Pharmacist's Mate Second Class William D. Halyburton, Jr., USNR (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 198):

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a Marine Rifle Company in the Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 10 May 1945. Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of Japanese counterfire as his unit pushed the attack through a strategically important draw, HALYBURTON unhesitatingly dashed across the draw and up the hill into an open, fireswept field where the company advance squad was pinned down under a terrific concentration of mortar, machine-gun and sniper fire with resultant severe casualties. Moving steadily forward despite the enemy's merciless barrage, he reached the wounded Marine who lay farthest away and was rendering first aid when his patient was struck for a second time by a Japanese bullet. Instantly placing himself in the direct line of fire, he shielded the fallen fighter with his own body and staunchly continued his ministrations although constantly menaced by the slashing fury of shrapnel and bullets falling on all sides. Alert, determined and completely unselfish in his concern for the helpless Marine, he perservered in his efforts until he himself sustained mortal wounds and collapsed, heroically sacrificing himself that his comrade might live. By his outstanding valor and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of tremendous odds, HALYBURTON sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country."


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