Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Kinser, Elbert L.

Kinser, Elbert L.

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Sergeant, USMCR, (1922-1945)

Elbert Luther Kinser was born on 21 October 1922 in Greeneville, Tennessee. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from that state in December 1942. Completing recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, he was ordered to the Pacific war zone and subsequently served at Pago Pago, American Samoa and later at Melbourne, Australia. In late 1943 and in 1944, Kinser participated in battle on Cape Gloucester, New Britain and on Peleliu in the Palau Islands. On 1 April 1945, as a Sergeant with the First Marines, he landed on Okinawa as U.S. forces invaded that island.


On 4 May 1945, while acting as a platoon leader, Kinser was closely engaged with the enemy when a Japanese grenade landed in close proximity. Immediately throwing himself upon it and absorbing the explosion within his body, he saved his fellow Marines from death or serious injury. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, Sergeant Kinser was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Elbert L. Kinser is buried at Solomon Lutheran Church Cemetery, Greenville, Tennessee.


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