MGen A. Vandegrift, Col M Edson, 2Lt M. Paige, and Plt. Sgt. J. Basilone at US 1st Marine Division Medal of Honor ceremony, Balcombe, Australia, 21 May 1943, photo 1 of 2

Caption   MGen A. Vandegrift, Col M Edson, 2Lt M. Paige, and Plt. Sgt. J. Basilone at US 1st Marine Division Medal of Honor ceremony, Balcombe, Australia, 21 May 1943, photo 1 of 2 ww2dbase
Source    ww2dbaseUnited States Marine Corps via ww2gyrene.org
Identification Code   USMC 56749
More on...   
John Basilone   Main article  Photos  
Alexander Vandegrift   Main article  Photos  
Photos in Series See all photos in this series
Photos on Same Day See all photos dated 21 May 1943
Added By David Stubblebine
Added Date 8 Feb 2012
Licensing  Public Domain. According to the United States copyright law (United States Code, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105), in part, "[c]opyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government".



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
7 Jan 2012 07:22:07 PM

All four of these men received the Medal of Honor for their actions on Guadalcanal. Edson and Paige received their medals at this ceremony while Vandergrift received his earlier and Edson would receive his later.
2. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
7 Jan 2012 07:40:50 PM

Medal of Honor citation for MGen Alexander A. Vandergrift: For outstanding and heroic accomplishment above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the 1st Marine Division in operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands during the period August 7, to December 9, 1942. With the adverse factors of weather, terrain, and disease making his task a difficult and hazardous undertaking, and with his command eventually including sea, land, and air forces of Army, Navy and Marine Corps, Major General Vandegrift achieved marked success in commanding the initial landings of the United States forces in the Solomon Islands and in their subsequent occupation. His tenacity, courage, and resourcefulness prevailed against a strong, determined, and experienced enemy, and the gallant fighting spirit of the men under his inspiring leadership enabled them to withstand aerial, land, and sea bombardment, to surmount all obstacles, and leave a disorganized and ravaged enemy. This dangerous but vital mission, accomplished at the constant risk of his life, resulted in securing a valuable base for further operations of our forces against the enemy, and its successful completion reflects great credit upon Major General Vandegrift, his command, and the United States Naval Service.
3. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
7 Jan 2012 07:41:30 PM

Medal of Honor citation for Col Merritt A. Edson: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, with Parachute Battalion attached, during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on the night of 1314 September 1942. After the airfield on Guadalcanal had been seized from the enemy on August 8, Col. Edson, with a force of 800 men, was assigned to the occupation and defense of a ridge dominating the jungle on either side of the airport. Facing a formidable Japanese attack which, augmented by infiltration, had crashed through our front lines, he, by skillful handling of his troops, successfully withdrew his forward units to a reserve line with minimum casualties. When the enemy, in a subsequent series of violent assaults, engaged our force in desperate hand-to-hand combat with bayonets, rifles, pistols, grenades, and knives, Col. Edson, although continuously exposed to hostile fire throughout the night, personally directed defense of the reserve position against a fanatical foe of greatly superior numbers. By his astute leadership and gallant devotion to duty, he enabled his men, despite severe losses, to cling tenaciously to their position on the vital ridge, thereby retaining command not only of the Guadalcanal airfield, but also of the 1st Division's entire offensive installations in the surrounding area.
4. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
7 Jan 2012 07:42:05 PM

Medal of Honor citation for then-Platoon Sergeant Mitchell Paige: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area on October 26, 1942. When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, Platoon Sergeant Paige, commanding a machine-gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he manned his gun, and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire against the advancing hordes until reinforcements finally arrived. Then, forming a new line, he dauntlessly and aggressively led a bayonet charge, driving the enemy back and preventing a break through in our lines. His great personal valor and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
5. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
7 Jan 2012 07:42:41 PM

Medal of Honor citation for Sergeant John Basilone: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area. Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines' defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machine guns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone's sections, with its guncrews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. GSgt Basilone would also be awarded the Navy Cross for his actions on Iwo Jima. Sadly, this was a posthumous award.
6. Andres C. Alvarez says:
27 May 2012 03:21:03 PM

I am watching the HBO series "The Pacific" and I wanted to know more about Sgt. John Basilone and the sacrifices he made on Guadalcanal and on Iwo Jima. This was a great soldier and an great man R.I.P. Sgt. Basilone we owe you so much for your sacrefice along with all the other fine soldier that died in the line of duty protecting this great country. God be with you.
7. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
15 Sep 2013 01:20:45 AM

Of particular interest here is the 1st Marine Division patches worn on the right shoulder of each participant. The design was first proposed by Lt.Col (later General) Merrill B. Twinning, the Divisional Operations Officer on Guadacanal, and approved by General Vandegrift on the flight out of the island. After arriving in Brisbane, Australia, Colonel Twinning purchased a childs watercolour set and, while recovering from a bout of malaria, sketched designs in several colours which he took to General Vandegrift. The General selected one in a shade of blue that he liked. Twinning then took the sketch to the Australian Knitting Mills for manufacture, pledging the credit of post exchange funds to meet the cost. Within a week or two the patches began to roll off the knitting machines and almost immediately proved to be a popular purchase (with Marines frequently buying extra copies to give away to friends and relatives). Shortly after the war, however, Colonel Twinning suggested to Commandant Vandegrift that he felt that Marines should not wear anything on their uniforms to distinguish them from other Marines. Vandegrift agreed and the patches came off for good.

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