The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS posthumously to
GUNNERY SERGEANT JOHN “MANILLA JOHN” BASILONE
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS (RESERVE)
for service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Gunnery Sergeant John “Manila John” Basilone (MCSN: 287506), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving as a Leader of a Machine-Gun Section, Company C, First Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945. Shrewdly gauging the tactical situation shortly after landing when his company’s advance was held up by the concentrated fire of a heavily fortified Japanese blockhouse, Gunnery Sergeant Basilone boldly defied the smashing bombardment of heavy caliber fire to work his way around the flank and up to a position directly on top of the blockhouse and then, attacking with grenades and demolitions, single-handedly destroyed the entire hostile strong point and its defending garrison. Consistently daring and aggressive as he fought his way over the battle-torn beach and up the sloping, gun-studded terraces toward Airfield Number 1, he repeatedly exposed himself to the blasting fury of exploding shells and later in the day coolly proceeded to the aid of a friendly tank which had been trapped in an enemy mine field under intense mortar and artillery barrages, skillfully guiding the heavy vehicle over the hazardous terrain to safety, despite the overwhelming volume of hostile fire. In the forefront of the assault at all times, he pushed forward with dauntless courage and iron determination until, moving upon the edge of the airfield, he fell, instantly killed by a bursting mortar shell. Stouthearted and indomitable, Gunnery Sergeant Basilone, by his intrepid initiative, outstanding skill, and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of fanatic opposition, contributed materially to the advance of his company during the early critical period of the assault, and his unwavering devotion to duty throughout the bitter conflict was an inspiration to his comrades and reflects the highest credit upon Gunnery Sergeant Basilone and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
Born: 4 November 1916 in Buffalo, N.Y…. Served three years in the Philippines in the Army prior to enlisting in the Marines… Turned down a commission following actions that earned him the Medal of Honor on Guadalcanal… Requested a return to combat, and was killed in action 19 February 1945 on Iwo Jima, posthumously earning the Navy Cross… Only enlisted Marine to receive both the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross during World War II… Namesake of the destroyer USS Basilone (DE-824)… Interred at Arlington National Cemetery