|Born||4 Nov 1916|
|Died||19 Feb 1945|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseGiovanni "John" Basilone was born in Buffalo, New York, United States. Between 1934 and 1937, he was an enlisted man in the United States Army based in the Philippine Islands, and upon his return he picked up the nickname "Manila John". He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1940. In 1942, he was sent to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where he made himself known as a fearless warrior at Henderson Field during a Japanese counterattack led by Major Generals Kawaguchi and Nasu. Leading a weapons company of the First Battalion of the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, he was equipped with a 100-pound Browning heavy machine gun. He carried the heavy gun for 30 yards to set up a strongpoint so that the other two guns nearby, both jammed, could have time to recover and reload. "Basilone had a machine gun on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest or food," fellow Marine Nash Phillips remembered (and exaggerated, as the Japanese attack did not last nearly as long). By the time the Japanese attack ceased, the three Browning guns had used up 125 belts of ammunition, with only one to spare. For his personal valor at Guadalcanal, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by General Vandegrift in May 1943.
ww2dbaseOn D-Day just beyond the landing beach designated "Red Beach II" at Iwo Jima, Basilone tried to lead a rifle unit to take out a Japanese gun emplacement. "Come on, you guys, we gotta get these guns off the beach", he yelled, as recalled by others who survived. A few seconds later, out of nowhere, a mortar shell landed near him and struck him down.
James Bradley, Flags of Our Fathers
Dan van der Vat, The Pacific Campaign
Last Major Revision: Sep 2006
John Basilone Timeline
|4 Nov 1916||John Basilone was born in Buffalo, New York, United States.|
|3 Sep 1943||John Basilone arrived in New York, New York, United States.|
|6 Sep 1943||John Basilone began a bond tour in the New York City region of the United States.|
|9 Sep 1943||John Basilone participated in a bond tour event in Newark, New Jersey, United States.|
|10 Sep 1943||John Basilone participated in a bond tour event in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States.|
|18 Sep 1943||John Basilone participated in a bond tour event in Scanton, Pennsylvania, United States.|
|19 Sep 1943||John Basilone participated in a bond tour event in his home town of Raritan and the neighboring town of Somerville in New Jersey, United States.|
|6 Dec 1943||John Basilone arrived in New York, New York, United States and prepared for the bond drive event that was to take place on the following day, which was the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.|
|27 Dec 1943||John Basilone departed for Camp Pendleton, California, United States.|
|13 Jan 1944||John Basilone was assigned to the 21st Infantry Regiment of the newly formed but not yet activated US 5th Marine Division.|
|3 Jul 1944||John Basilone re-enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.|
|7 Jul 1944||John Basilone and Lena Mae Riggi completed the application for a marriage certificate.|
|10 Jul 1944||John Basilone married Sergeant Lena Mae Riggi at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church in Oceanside, California, United States.|
|19 Feb 1945||John Basilone passed away.|
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Visitor Submitted Comments
20 Feb 2011 10:50:41 PM
One of the greatest American heroes ever.
6 Jun 2011 11:08:59 AM
one of the best military personel in world history thank him for his services.
26 Nov 2012 08:34:02 PM
GySgt Basilone's accomplishments were a major part of the Ken Burns documentry, The Pacific. It is a strong statement when a US Navy ship, a bridge, and a highway are named after you. Plus a statue of you in your home town.
12 Feb 2013 07:45:37 AM
No offense to Mr. Basilone, but, he didn't pass away, he was killed by a mortar.
30 Jun 2013 01:20:48 PM
All vets are heros,but this hero is on top of the hill of heros. !!!!. Why has there not been a bio movie made about this incrediable needs to contact hanks , and
,chuck tatum to do this before its too late. Just in case those of you don!t know, mr tatum is one of a few left with us that served in basilones platoon. By the way he also wrote the book red blood black sand of which the pacific is partly based. I can only hope that someone will help with this montumental task and bring this new movie to truition. Thankyou to all of each and every hero that served in our countarys hours of need. Without your service our great freedoms would only be charished memories or of distant dreams ,would they not. ???
the grace of a higher power,is still with us. He is one of the last that served with in basilones p
29 Aug 2013 07:05:23 PM
My Father G B Mason is still alive and did serve in Basilones platoon.
Yes, there are not many of the great men left.
10 Nov 2015 10:49:08 AM
what a great man
30 May 2017 08:33:55 AM
Although John Basilone was killed 1 month before I was born I heard alot of Him He was my Grandmothers Nephew and My Mothers cousin I remember going to New Jersey for Basilone Day every year I would like some day to visit the Marine Camp in So.Carolina to see how He has been Honored and not forgoten
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25 Jan 2010 10:52:38 AM
I wish I could have meet Mr. Basilone. What a fine man. Uuuuh RAH.