The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
RUFUS GEDDIE HERRING
for service as set forth in the following
For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant [then Lieutenant, Junior Grade] Rufus Geddie Herring, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Landing Craft Infantry Gunboat FOUR HUNDRED FORTY-NINE (LCI (G) 449), operating as a unit of LCI (G) Group EIGHT, during the pre-invasion attack on Iwo Jima, Ryukyu Islands, on 17 February 1945. Boldly closing the strongly fortified shores under the devastating fire of Japanese coastal defense guns, Lieutenant Herring directed shattering barrages of 40-mm. and 20-mm. gunfire against hostile beaches until struck down by the enemy’s savage counter-fire which blasted the 449’s heavy guns and whipped her decks into sheets of flame. Regaining consciousness despite profuse bleeding he was again critically wounded when a Japanese mortar crashed the conning station, instantly killing or fatally wounding most of the officers and leaving the ship wallowing without navigational control. Upon recovering the second time, Lieutenant Herring resolutely climbed down to the pilothouse and, fighting against his rapidly waning strength, took over the helm, established communication with the engineroom, and carried on valiantly until relief could be obtained. When no longer able to stand, he propped himself against empty shell cases and rallied his men to the aid of the wounded; he maintained position in the firing line with his 20-mm. guns in action in the face of sustained enemy fire, and conned his crippled ship to safety. His unwavering fortitude, aggressive perseverance, and indomitable spirit against terrific odds reflect the highest credit upon Lieutenant Herring and uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Born: 11 June 1921 in Roseboro, N.C…. Also participated in the invasions of Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian and Guam… Retired as Lieutenant Commander in 1947… Departed: 31 Jan. 1996.