Colonel Mitchell Paige, USMC, (1918-2003)
Mitchell Paige was born on 31 August 1918 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. He enlisted from that same state in the U.S. Marine Corps in September 1936. Following recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he was assigned to USS Wyoming. In February 1937, he reported to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California, and later transferred for duty overseas at Cavite, Philippine Islands and at China. In September 1939, he received orders to the Fifth Marines at Quantico, Virginia. Following this tour, he helped to coordinate the construction of the Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. After the United States' entry into World War II, he joined the Seventh Marines and was ordered for combat duty in the Pacific. In September 1942, he participated as a Platoon Sergeant at the Battle of Guadalcanal. On 26 October, the Japanese enemy broke through the line in front of him, killing and wounding his men. Alone against the enemy, he bravely continued to fight until reinforcements arrived. Paige then led a bayonet charge, driving the enemy back and preventing them to break the front line again. For his "extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry" on this occasion, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. That December, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.
In January 1943, Paige joined the First Marine Division. In June, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and participated in battle at Cape Gloucester, New Britain that September. Returning to the United States in July 1944, he was assigned to Camp Lejeune and was promoted in February 1945 to Captain. In the summer, he served as a Tactical Training Officer at Camp Matthews, California, before becoming a recruit training officer at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Placed on inactive duty in May 1946, he returned to active duty in July 1950 and briefly served at Camp Pendleton, California, before transferring to the Second Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, California. In January 1951, he was promoted to Major. Completing the Fourth Special Junior Course at the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico, he was assigned as the Division Recruiting Officer, Second Marine Division at Camp Lejeune.
In February 1954, Paige served as the Officer in Charge of the Noncommissioned Officers School at San Francisco, California. After a brief tour as Executive Officer, and later Commanding Officer, of the Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, he was the Officer in Charge of the Marine Corps Recruiting Station at San Francisco. In May 1957, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In the summer, he was assigned as Inspector-Instructor with the Seventh Infantry Battalion, Marine Corps Reserve at San Bruno, California. Reporting to Washington D.C. a year later, he served at Headquarters, Marine Corps. Following this tour and completion of language training, he became the Executive Officer of the Marine Barracks at Naval Station at San Diego. In November 1959, he was placed on the disability retired list and was promoted to Colonel. Mitchell Paige died on 15 September 2003 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.
This page features the only image we have concerning Mitchell Paige.
Medal of Honor citation of Platoon Sergeant Mitchell Paige, USMC (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 236):
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