Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Walsh, Kenneth A.

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Lieutenant Colonel, USMC, (1916-1998)

Gunnery Sergeant William G. Walsh, USMCR, (1922-1945)

William Gary Walsh was born on 7 April 1922 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve from that state in April 1942, received recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina and advanced training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Transferred to the Pacific war zone, he was assigned to a Marine Raider unit and participated in the Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands and Gilbert Islands Campaigns of 1942 and 1943. In 1944 he was assigned to the Fifth Marine Division and promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.

In February 1945, as Leader of an Assault Platoon attached to Company G, Third Battalion, Twenty-seventh Marines, Walsh took part in the battle for Iwo Jima. On 27 February, he led a successful uphill assault against a well-located and heavily-manned enemy stronghold. As his Marines captured the ridge, the Japanese unleashed a barrage of hand grenades, with one landing in the midst of his men. Walsh instantly dived on it and was killed, thus saving his men's lives and allowing them to hold the newly won hill. For his "extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, " he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. William G. Walsh is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.