Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Battle of Okinawa

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients


U.S. Navy Medal of Honor

Obverse of a Medal of Honor. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command photograph. Catalog# NH 95030-KN.


On an individual basis, 24 servicemembers received the Medal of Honor for actions performed during the Battle of Okinawa. Thirteen went to the Marines and their organic Navy corpsmen, nine to Army troops, and one to a Navy officer. Listed below are the Navy and Marine Corps Battle of Okinawa Medal of Honor recipients to include a brief synopsis of their heroics. 

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Bush, Richard E., corporal, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 6th Marine Division., Mount Yaetake on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 16 April 1945. Severely wounded while leading the first squad to penetrate the Mount Yae-take inner defenses, Bush was evacuated to a nearby aid station. When an enemy grenade landed in the midst of the wounded men, he unhesitatingly pulled it to his body to protect his comrades from serious injury or death. 

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Bush, Robert E., hospital apprentice first class, U.S. Naval Reserve, serving as medical corpsman with a rifle company, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division., Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945. Bush was administering plasma to a wounded officer on an exposed ridgeline when the enemy attacked. He fought off the charging enemy with his pistol and a carbine, killing six despite his own serious wounds. He calmly ignored his critical condition until his patient was evacuated.

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Courtney, Henry A. Jr. (posthumous), major, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 2d Battalion, 22d Marines, 6th Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Islands, 14–15 May 1945. Gallantly leading by personal example, Courtney inspired a small group of men from his unit to assault and capture the crest of Sugar Loaf Hill. He continued to lead attacks against the superior enemy defending forces until killed by a hostile mortar burst. 

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Day, James L. corporal, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Marines, 6th Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Islands, 14–17 May 1945. By his extraordinary heroism, repeated acts of valor, and quintessential battlefield leadership, Day inspired the efforts of his outnumbered Marines to defeat a much larger enemy force in sustained combat operations against Japanese forces. 

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Fardy, John P. (posthumous), corporal, U.S Marine Corps, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Islands, 7 May 1945. When heavy enemy small arms fire drove his squad to cover in a narrow drainage ditch and an enemy grenade fell among the men, Fardy smothered the lethal explosion with his own body to protect his comrades’ lives. 

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Foster, William A. (posthumous), private first class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain 2 May 1945. Dug in with another Marine on the point of a perimeter defense during a fierce close-in battle with the enemy, Foster threw himself on a grenade that landed out of reach in his foxhole to protect the life of his comrade. 

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Gonsalves, Harold (posthumous), private first class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 4th Battalion, 15th Marines, 6th Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 15 April 1945. After repeatedly braving terrific enemy bombardment to aid his forward observation team, Gonsalves dived on an enemy grenade that landed in his midst, sacrificing his own chances of survival to protect his fellow Marines. 

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Halyburton, William D. Jr. (posthumous), pharmacist's mate second class, U.S. Naval Reserve, serving with 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 10 May 1945. When his assault unit suffered severe casualties, Halyburton unhesitatingly went to the aid of the wounded man closest to the enemy positions. He interposed his own body as a shield in the line of fire and continued his ministrations until he was killed. 

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Hansen, Dale M. (posthumous), private, U.S. Marine Corps, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 7 May 1945. Using a rocket launcher, a rifle, and grenades, Hansen seized the initiative at a critical point in the battle action and in a one-man assault destroyed a pillbox, a mortar, and 12 of the enemy, materially aiding the accomplishment of his company’s mission. 

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Hauge, Louis J. Jr. (posthumous), corporal, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain on 14 May 1945. Making a determined one-man assault on a pair of enemy machine gun positions holding up his company’s advance, Hauge wiped out one with 149 grenades, although painfully wounded, continued his attack, and succeeded in destroying the second.

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Kinser, Elbert L. (posthumous), sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 4 May 1945. During an enemy counterattack when a grenade fell in the midst of his men, Kinser threw himself on the deadly missile and absorbed the full force of the shattering explosion with his own body. 

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Lester, Fred F. (posthumous), hospital apprentice first class, U.S. Navy, attached to the 1st Battalion, 22d Marines, 6th Marine Division, Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 8 June 1945. Lester was hit while going to the aid of a wounded man. Although he was again wounded dragging his patient to safety, Lester directed the administration of proper medical treatment to several men, steadfastly refusing aid for his own wounds, which he realized were fatal. 

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McTureous, Robert M Jr. (posthumous), private, U.S. Marine Corps, 3d Battalion, 29th Marines, 6th Marine Division, Okinawa in the Ryukyu Chain, 7 June 1945. When machine gun fire suddenly assailed stretcher bearers evacuating his unit’s wounded, McTureous made two one-man grenade assaults on the enemy gun positions. Although seriously wounded, he stoically crawled 200 yards to shelter before calling for aid.

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Schwab, Albert E. (posthumous), private first class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve., 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Okinawa Shima in the Rykuyu Islands, 7 May 1945. Attacking alone up a high ridge, Schwab used his flamethrower to burn out an enemy machine gun that had pinned down his unit. When a second machine gun opened up, he attacked directly into its fire, silencing it as he fell fatally wounded.

Published: Mon Apr 20 10:32:48 EDT 2020