Return to Naval Historical Center home page. Return to Online Library Listing

WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Photo # NH 103910:  Captain John J. McCarthy, USMCR

Online Library of Selected Images:

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. McCarthy, USMCR, (1911-1996)

Joseph Jeremiah McCarthy was born on 10 April 1911 in Chicago, Illinois. In February 1937, he enlisted in the Marine Corps from that state, serving four years. He reenlisted after the Pearl Harbor attack and in the summer of 1942 was discharged on order to accept an officer's commission. McCarthy was subsequently assigned to the Fourth Marine Division and in 1944 participated in the Marshalls and Marianas Campaigns.

Captain McCarthy took part in the Battle of Iwo Jima as Commanding Officer of a rifle company of the Second Battalion, Twenty-Fourth Marines, Fourth Marine Division. On 21 February 1945, when Japanese defenses held up his company's advance across the island, he fearlessly led an attack across hostile terrain to annihilate a series of enemy emplacements. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life" at that time, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

On 5 October 1945, President Harry S. Truman presented the medal to Captain McCarthy in ceremonies at the White House. Following World War II he remained in the Marine Corps Reserve, retiring in 1971 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In civilian life he was the Chicago Fire Department's Superintendent of Ambulances. Joseph J. McCarthy died on 15 June 1996 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virgina.

This page features the only image we have concerning Joseph J. McCarthy.

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 103910

Captain Joseph J. McCarthy, USMCR

Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 226.
Joseph J. McCarthy received the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life" on 21 February 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 67KB; 620 x 765 pixels


Medal of Honor citation of Captain John Jeremiah McCarthy, USMCR (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 226):

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of a Rifle Company attached to the Second Battalion, Twenty-fourth Marines, FOURTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 21 February 1945. Determined to break through the enemy's cross-island defenses, Captain McCarthy acted on his own initiative when his company advance was held up by uninterrupted Japanese rifle, machine-gun and high velocity 47-mm. fire during the approach to Motoyama Airfield No.8. Quickly organizing a demolitions and flame-thrower team to accompany his hand picked rifle squad, he fearlessly led the way across 75 years of fire-swept ground, charged a heavily fortified pillbox on the ridge of the front and, personally hurling hand grenades into the emplacement as he directed the combined operations of his small assault group, completely destroyed the hostile installation. Spotting two Japanese soldiers attempting to escape from the shattered pillbox, he boldly stood upright in full view of the enemy and dispatched both troops before advancing to a second emplacement under greatly intensified fire and then blasted the strong fortifications with a well-planned demolitions attack. Subsequently entering the ruins, he found a Japanese taking aim at one of our men and, with alert presence of mind, jumped the enemy, disarmed and shot him with his own weapon. Then, intent on smashing through the narrow breach, he rallied the remainder of his company and pressed a full attack with furious aggressiveness until he had neutralized all resistence and captured the ridge. An inspiring leader and indomitable fighter, Captain McCarthy consistently disregarded all personal danger during the fierce conflict and, by his brilliant professional skill, daring tactics, and tenacious perserverance in the face of overwhelming odds, contributed materially to the success of his division's operations against this savagely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. His cool decision and outstanding valor reflect the highest credit upon Captain McCarthy and enhance the finest 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."

Return to Naval Historical Center home page.

Page made 20 July 2006