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Photo # NH 103383:  Sergeant John Basilone, USMC

Online Library of Selected Images:

Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, USMC, (1916-1945)

John Basilone was born in Buffalo, New York, on 4 November 1916. Educated in Raritan, New Jersey, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1936, serving for more than two years in the Philippines before leaving that service in 1939. In July of the following year he joined the Marine Corps. During 1940-1942, while rising in rank to Corporal and Sergeant, he served at posts in the eastern U.S. and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In September 1942 Sgt. Basilone landed on the southern Pacific island of Guadalcanal to participate in the ongoing campaign to hold the airfield there against Japanese attempts to recapture it. On the night of 24-25 October 1942, during a vigorous enemy assault on the Marines' defensive perimeter, he was responsible for a section of machine guns. His "extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry" in keeping his guns in action in the face of heavy attacks contributed greatly to the failure of the Japanese offensive and was recognized by the award of the Medal of Honor.

Following his service on Guadalcanal, Basilone was assigned to U.S. Marine units in California and at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C.. Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was killed in action during the February 1945 invasion of Iwo Jima.

The destroyer Basilone (DD-824, later DDE-824 and DD-824), 1949-1982, was named in honor of Gunnery Sergeant Basilone.

This page features the only view we have concerning Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, USMC.

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the "Online Library's" digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 103383

Sergeant John Basilone, USMC

Halftone reproduction of a photograph, published in "Medal of Honor, 1861-1945, The Navy", page 153, showing Sgt. Basilone wearing the Medal of Honor, which was awarded to him for "extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry" during combat action on Guadalcanal on 24 and 25 October 1942.
Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was killed in action on Iwo Jima in February 1945. USS Basilone (DD-824) was named in his honor.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 77KB; 600 x 715 pixels


For a view of Gunnery Sergeant Basilone's widow, Sergeant Lena Mae Basilone, USMC(WR), christening the ship named in his honor, see: Photo # NH 103377.

Medal of Honor citation of Sergeant John Basilone, USMC (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 153):

"For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the First Battalion, Seventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division in the Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines' defensive positions, Sergeant Basilone, in charge of two sections of heavy machine guns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sergeant Basilone's sections, with its gun crews, was put out of action, leaving only two men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sergeant Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the "Online Library's" digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

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Page made 23 December 2005