Sergeant Elbert L. Kinser, USMCR, (1922-1945)
Elbert Luther Kinser was born on 21 October 1922 in Greeneville, Tennessee. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from that state in December 1942. Completing recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, he was ordered to the Pacific war zone and subsequently served at Pago Pago, American Samoa and later at Melbourne, Australia. In late 1943 and in 1944, Kinser participated in battle on Cape Gloucester, New Britain and on Peleliu in the Palau Islands. On 1 April 1945, as a Sergeant with the First Marines, he landed on Okinawa as U.S. forces invaded that island.
On 4 May 1945, while acting as a platoon leader, Kinser was closely engaged with the enemy when a Japanese grenade landed in close proximity. Immediately throwing himself upon it and absorbing the explosion within his body, he saved his fellow Marines from death or serious injury. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, Sergeant Kinser was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Elbert L. Kinser is buried at Solomon Lutheran Church Cemetery, Greenville, Tennessee.
This page features the only image we have concerning Elbert L. Kinser.
Photo #: NH 106302|
Sergeant Elbert L. Kinser, USMCR
Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949,
The Navy", page 214.
Elbert L. Kinser was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" while acting as Leader of a Rifle Platoon serving with Company I, Third Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division in action against the Japanese on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 4 May 1945.
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph
Online Image: 37KB; 580 x 765 pixels
Medal of Honor citation of Sergeant Elbert L. Kinser, USMCR
(as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor,
1861-1949, The Navy", page 214):
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of
duty while acting as Leader of a Rifle Platoon, serving with Company I, Third Battalion, First Marines,
FIRST Marine Division, in action against Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 4 May 1945.
Taken under sudden, close attack by hostile troops entrenched on the reverse slope while moving up a strategic
ridge along which his platoon was holding newly won positions, Sergeant Kinser engaged the enemy in a fierce
hand-grenade battle. Quick to act when a Japanese grenade landed in the immediate vicinity, Sergeant Kinser
unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the full charge of the shattering explosion in
his own body and thereby protecting his men from serious injury and possible death. Stout-hearted and indomitable,
he had yielded his own chance of survival that his comrades might live to carry on the relentless battle against a
fanatic enemy. His courage, cool decision and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the fact of certain death sustained
and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."
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