Private Joseph W. Ozbourn, USMC, (1919-1944)
Joseph William Ozbourn was born on 24 October 1919 in Herrin, Illinois. After attending school in the area, he worked in the coal industry. In October 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from the state of Illinois and was later sent to the Pacific for combat duty. Ozbourn served as a Browning Automatic Rifleman with the First Battalion, Twenty-third Marines, Fourth Marine Division during the Battle of Tinian Island in the Marianas. On 30 July 1944, while clearing the enemy from dugouts and pillboxes with four other Marines, a terrific blast came from a dugout as Ozbourn prepared to throw a hand grenade into it, severly wounding him and his comrades. Unable to safely dispose of the grenade, Ozbourn fell upon it and absorbed the blast with his body, sacrificing his life to save his companions. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Joseph W. Ozbourn is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.
USS Ozbourn (DD-846), 1946-1975, was named in honor of Private Joseph W. Ozbourn.
This page features the only images we have concerning Joseph W. Ozbourn.
Photo #: NH 106359|
Private Joseph W. Ozbourn, USMC
Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official
publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 235.
Joseph W. Ozbourn was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" while serving as a Browning Automatic Rifleman with the First Battalion, Twenty-third Marines, Fourth Marine Division during combat action against the Japanese on Tinian Island, Marianas Islands, 30 July 1944.
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.
Online Image: 33KB; 580 x 765 pixels
Photo #: NH 83495-KN (Color)|
Private Joseph W. Ozbourn, USMC
Artwork of the namesake of USS Ozbourn (DD-846). He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during battle at Tinian, Marianas Islands, 30 July 1944.
Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph
Online Image: 38KB; 580 x 765 pixels
Medal of Honor citation of Private Joseph William Ozbourn, USMC
(as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor,
1861-1949, The Navy", page 235):
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Browning Automatic Rifleman serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-third Marines, FOURTH Marine Division, during the battle for enemy Japanese-held Tinian Island, Marianas Islands, 30 July 1944. As a member of a platoon assigned the mission of clearing the remaining Japanese troops from dugouts and pillboxes along a tree line, Private Ozbourn, flanked by two men on either side, was moving forward to throw an armed hand grenade into a dugout when a terrific blast from the entrance severely wounded the four men and himself. Unable to throw the grenade into the dugout and with no place to hurl it without endangering the other men, Private Ozbourn unhesitatingly grasped it close to his body and fell upon it, sacrificing his own life to absorb the full impact of the explosion, but saving his comrades. His great personal valor and unwavering loyalty reflect the highest credit upon Private Ozbourn and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."
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