Private First Class Leonard F. Mason, USMC, (1920-1944)
Leonard Foster Mason was born on 2 February 1920 in Middlesboro, Kentucky. He moved to Lima, Ohio and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from that state in 1942. After
completing recruit training at the Marine Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, he departed for combat duty in the Pacific war zone. A month after joining the Third Marines, Third Marine Division, he participated in the Bougainville campaign. While serving with the Marines, he attained the rank of Private First Class.
On 22 July 1944, Mason served as an Automatic Rifleman with the Second Battalion of his division against Japanese forces on the Asan-Adelup Beachhead on Guam, Marianas Islands. Held-up and fired upon in a narrow gully, he bravely climbed out alone to the enemy's rear position. Critically wounded while pressing forward with his attack, he bravely cleared out the hostile position. Evacuated to a hospital ship, he later succumbed to his wounds. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Leonard F. Mason is listed on the "Wall of the Missing" at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.
USS Leonard F. Mason (DD-852), (1946-1976), was named in honor of Private First Class Leonard F. Mason.
This page features the only image we have concerning Leonard F. Mason.
Photo #: NH 106304|
Private First Class Leonard F. Mason, USMC
Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official
publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 222.
Leonard F. Mason was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous
gallantry and intrepidity" while serving as an Automatic Riflemen attached to
Second Battalion, Third Marines, Third Marine Division in action against Japanese forces
on the Asan-Adelup Beachhead on Guam, Marianas Islands, 22 July 1944.
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph
Online Image: 50KB; 555 x 765 pixels
Medal of Honor citation of Private First Class Leonard Foster Mason, USMC
(as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor,
1861-1949, The Navy", page 215):
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of
duty as an Automatic Rifleman serving with the Second Battalion, Third Marines, Third Marine
Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Asan-Adelup Beachhead, Guam,
Marianas Islands, on 22 July 1944. Suddenly taken under fire by two enemy machine guns not
more than 15 yards away while clearing out hostile positions holding up the advance of his platoon
through a narrow gully, Private First Class Mason, alone and entirely on his own initiative, climbed
out of the gully and moved parallel to it toward the rear of the enemy position. Although fired upon
immediately by hostile riflemen from a higher position and wounded repeatedly in the arm and shoulder,
Private First Class Mason grimly pressed forward and had just reached his objective when hit again
by a burst of enemy machine-gun fire, causing a critical wound to which he later succumbed. With valiant
disregard for his own peril, he persevered, clearing out the hostile position, killing five Japanese,
wounding another and then rejoining his platoon to report the results of his action before consenting
to be evacuated. His exceptionally heroic act in the face of almost certain death enabled his platoon to
accomplish its mission and reflects the highest credit upon Private First Class Mason and the United
States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."
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