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Medal Of Honor Recipient Captain Joseph J. McCarthy

(Part of a continuing series of articles spotlighting United States Marines who have been awarded America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.)

From the Presidential Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of a rifle company attached to the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 21 February 1945.

Determined to break through the enemy’s cross-island defenses, Capt. McCarthy acted on his own initiative when his company advance was held up by uninterrupted Japanese rifle, machine gun, and high-velocity 47mm. fire during the approach to Motoyama Airfield No. 2.

Quickly organizing a demolitions and flamethrower team to accompany his picked rifle squad, he fearlessly led the way across 75 yards of fire-swept ground, charged a heavily fortified pillbox on the ridge of the front and, personally hurling hand grenades into the emplacement as he directed the combined operations of his small assault group, completely destroyed the hostile installation.

Spotting 2 Japanese soldiers attempting an escape from the shattered pillbox, he boldly stood upright in full view of the enemy and dispatched both troops before advancing to a second emplacement under greatly intensified fire and then blasted the strong fortifications with a well-planned demolitions attack.

Subsequently entering the ruins, he found a Japanese taking aim at 1 of our men and, with alert presence of mind, jumped the enemy, disarmed and shot him with his own weapon.

Then, intent on smashing through the narrow breach, he rallied the remainder of his company and pressed a full attack with furious aggressiveness until he had neutralized all resistance and captured the ridge.

An inspiring leader and indomitable fighter, Capt. McCarthy consistently disregarded all personal danger during the fierce conflict and, by his brilliant professional skill, daring tactics, and tenacious perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds, contributed materially to the success of his division’s operations against this savagely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire.

His cool decision and outstanding valor reflect the highest credit upon Capt. McCarthy and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Jap Shell Intrudes To Protect Marines

SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

Staff Sgt. Alfred Scalcione says it’s peculiar how things are taken out of one’s hands In wartime.
“Three of us were huddled in a small dugout one night,” said Scalcione, “waiting for an enemy battlewagon to get tired of pumping shells in our direction. “A spotter plane dropped a flare right over our position to direct its ship’s fire.
The Japs couldn’t miss us unless we doused that flare as soon as it hit ground.
“It seemed to take an hour to come down. PFC. George Mason jr. volunteered to sandbag the giveaway light.
Just as he poised to dash out of our dugout, a 14–inch Jap shell plunked right on top of the flare 15 feet away.

From The May 1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

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War Secrets Must Not Be Shared Even With Family

(This article appeared in a 1942 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron. The advice is as true today as it was then.)

The following is another in a series on lip-silence and national security taken from an address by the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

There is danger of having faith in your fellow men. But what about the faith you have in your friends and relatives —- in your mother and father, and the girl you are going to marry? Of all Security lessons, this is the hardest to- learn — that Service information must be shared with no one, not even with those you love. Now that is not to say that you must no longer put your trust in these people in whom you may have confided all your life. But you must not share with them secrets that are not yours to impart—secrets that belong to the Navy and to tho Navy alone. It is no good arguing that you have absolute faith in the girl you are going to marry, and that if you cannot trust her, then you cannot trust anyone. That is not the point. She will not have had the advantage of Security instruction such as you have had. She may not properly understand what you are talking about. She may give away information without knowing she has done so. And remember that the first person an enemy agent contacts when he wants to know anything secret is the wife or girl friend of the man who knows that secret. You may feel that your wife or mother has the right to know when you are in danger a right to be told if you know that on a certain date you are sailing in convoy, or are going on a raid from which you may never return. And you may also feel that they have a right to know if this raid is cancelled so that their minds may be set at rest. But this must not happen. The more people who know a secret, the less chance there is of it being kept, keep this quite clear in your minds, because it is the first rule of Security. Once you realize this, you will see that it is not only careless talk that costs lives. Too many people are of the opinion that careless talk is loud-mouthed conversation in public bars to perfect strangers, and that its opposite, careful talk, is a confidential whisper to your wife or sweetheart. But it is talk of any sort that must be stopped, no matter what the precautions that are taken.

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Marine Corps News From World War Two: Knife Nips Ninth Nip For Irishman

SAN DIEGO (U.P.)

A six-dollar San Diego knife put Irish Billy Beauhuld’s ninth Jap down for the long count, after his rifle was shot from his hand and a bullet ripped open his knee.
Irish Billy is a former lightweight boxer who battled some of the best in his day down St. Louis way. He was diving for a foxhole when the Nip won the drop on him and shot away a finger of his rifle hand. Beauhuld was credited with two snipers shortly after arriving on Guadalcanal, and six others In a skirmish shortly before the Marines were relieved by the Army.

From The May 1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

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The Battle Of Iwo Jima

The battle for control of the island of Iwo Jima began on Feb. 19th, 1945.

Iwo Jima had tactical importance because of two Japanese airfields located on the island.

On the first day of the battle, roughly 2,500 Marines were killed.

There were over 26,000 Marine casualties resulting from the battle, and more than 5,900 Marines lost their lives.

There were more Congressional Medals of Honor bestowed at the Battle of Iwo Jima than any other battle in American history.
A total of 27 CMOH’s were awarded, 13 posthumously.
22 of these were ome by Marines.

This is a colorized version of a film clip of the actual flag raising on Mt. Suribachi:

The flag was raised, not at the end of the battle, as many believe, but on either the 3rd or 4th day (accounts and reports differ) of a battle that lasted 36 days.

Os the six men who raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi, only three left the island alive.

Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the
flag-raising.

One of the things we made sure of when we went to see our daughter graduate from Marine Corps Boot Camp was to get a picture of her in front of the Iwo Jima memorial at Parris Island.

Parris Island Pictures   Iwo Jima Memorial

Marine Corps News From World War Two: Red Cross Branch Serves Three Forces

NAAS, CAMP KEARNEY.

In one of the initial moves to extend its service to the Navy, the Red Cross has opened a branch office at this base.
Under direction of Francis L. Castro, assistant field director, the office has fulfilled more than 100 emergency cases since service was instituted 5 May, and is rapidly extending its activities.

From The 5June1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

Public Domain

Marine Corps News From World War Two: Combat Heroism On Carrier Earns Awards For Trio

Corporal Continues Firing After Being Jolted From Gun Seat By Concussion

Three Marines who served aboard tho ill-fated aircraft carrier Hornet have been awarded Silver Star Medals for their part in fighting tho Japs, despite their own wounds.
Awards were given to John S. Stoklosa, Corp. Elias J, Kokotovich, and PFC. John A. Mieskoski.
“Jolted from the seat of his antiaircraft gun by concussion of an exploding bomb, Corp. Stoklosa, although severely wounded, continued his fire throughout the attacks,” the citation read. A brother, Peter, was killed on Guadalcanal one week before the Hornet engagement.
The citation to Corp. Kokotovich disclosed how the young Marine “with cool courage and utter disregard for his own personal safety, stood gamely by his battle station on board the carrier and manned an anti-aircraft gun throughout the action,” !
Mieskoski, who has four brothers in the Marines, “stood gamely by his battle station,” as the Jap planes swooped close by In several waves.


From The 5June1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

Public Domain

The U.S. Marines: The Battle Of Tinian

The campaign for the Marianas played a vital role in the defeat of Japan. After the capture of Saipan, the next step in this campaign was Tinian. Only three miles away, the island’s nearness to Saipan made its capture essential. Tinian’s relatively flat terrain was ideally suited for the construction of airfields for the new American B-29s, and the Japanese had already constructed several runways at Ushi Point. American control of Tinian would put the home islands of Japan within striking distance of U.S. bombers. The defense of the island was under the command of Col Kiyochi Ogata with 9,000 Japanese troops.

The battle for Tinian had been planned in April 1944. In July, MajGen Harry Schmidt assumed command of the operation, replacing LtGen Holland M. Smith, who took command of the new Fleet Marine Force Pacific. As scheduled, Tinian underwent intensive pre-landing naval air and artillery bombardment. Photo reconnaissance flights and captured enemy documents on Saipan gave a clear picture of the topography of Tinian. It was also during this campaign that napalm was used extensively for the first time. Napalm proved successful in burning off a considerable amount of ground cover.

The choice of a landing site proved to be a difficult problem. Tinian, like Saipan, was rimmed by coral cliffs, varying in height from six to 100 feet, leaving only three possible areas for landing. The best landing site was the beach at Tinian Town. Realizing this, the Japanese had fortified the area heavily. To land there might be as costly as the invasion of Tarawa. The second favorable beach was located at Asiga Bay. This, too, was strongly defended and mined. It was exposed to the trade winds which caused a heavy surf. The third choice was to land at two beaches located on the northwest coast. Both beaches were narrow and crowded with coral, but Japanese defenses were light. One beach was only 60 yards wide and the other was a little more than twice that width. Both beaches were too narrow for a full-scale amphibious assault and presented the danger of congestion of troops and equipment. Based on reports made by swimmers from the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, which reconnoitered both Asiga Bay and the northwest beaches, the decision was made to land on the northwest beaches.

The assault was set for 24 July 1944 (J-Day). It was decided that the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions would land on Tinian, with the Army’s 27th Division held in reserve on Saipan. The 4th Marine Division was to land first on the northwest beaches designated White 1 and White 2. To draw the attention of the Japanese away from the landing, the 2d Marine Division was directed to make a feint off the beach at Tinian Town in an effort to keep the Japanese troops in that area while the real landing was taking place at White 1 and 2.

At dawn on J-Day, the demonstration group’s attack began with the shelling of Tinian Town. The battleship Colorado, light cruiser Cleveland and destroyers Remey and Norman Scott moved in, followed by the transports carrying the 2d and 8th Marines. The landing craft came within 2000 yards of the beach before turning around and heading back to the ships. All returned safely, although Japanese artillery severely damaged several ships. The plan had worked; Japanese attention had been successfully diverted while the assault on the northwest beaches was taking place.

The attack began at 7:45am with two regiments landing abreast in amphibian tractors, the 24th Marines on the left at White Beach 1 and the 25th Marines on the right at White Beach 2. Meeting with some machine gun and rifle fire that in no way compared to the barrage encountered on the beaches of Saipan, the Marines quickly overcame the opposition. By 11:00am all reserve battalions had landed and shortly after that, the division artillery reached the beach. By nightfall on J-Day, all three infantry regiments (23d, 24th, and 25th) of the 4th Marine Division and four pack howitzer battalions of the 10th and 14th Marines were ashore and braced for the expected counterattack from the Japanese. The element of surprise had paid off well. The assault cost a relatively small number of casualties with 15 dead and 225 wounded. Over 15,000 Marines had landed and greatly outnumbered the Japanese defenders. All supplies had received special attention to prevent any congestion on the beaches. According to logistics plans, all supplies were brought across the beaches in tractors and DUKWs (amphibious trucks) and taken directly to division dumps without rehandling.

The Japanese counterattack came the first night. They charged the Marines three times, but the lines held in spite of the fact some Marine companies were down to as few as 30 men. By dawn the Japanese assault was smashed and the Marines began to mop up. On J-Day plus one, the 2d Marine Division arrived from Tinian Town and moved ashore while the 4th Marine Division occupied Mt. Lasso, the highest elevation on Tinian. During the next three days, the Marines moved inland meeting very little resistance and Ushi Point Airfield was taken with no opposition. On 29 July, the two Marine divisions met with stiffer resistance as the retreating Japanese moved south into hills and caves. After these isolated pockets of resistance were destroyed, the Marines moved on Tinian Town. The abandoned ruins were taken the next day and the Japanese withdrew to the southern end of the island.

U.S. forces put the southern area under aerial, naval, and artillery fire in attempt to flush out the remaining enemy troops. Early on 1 August 1944, the 2d Marine Division successfully fought off two banzai charges that seemed to be the enemy’s last gasp. Japanese resistance ceased, and the island was declared secure, although some isolated Japanese troops hiding in caves did keep one Marine regiment tied up with patrol and mop-up activities for months afterwards.

The battle for Tinian was over in nine days. It cost the Marines 384 dead with 1,961 wounded. The element of surprise was the main factor in casualties being so low. This battle, in the opinion of many, was the perfect amphibious operation of World War II.

The role Tinian was to play in the war did not end, however, with its capture from the Japanese. About a year later, the Enola Gay, a B-29 airplane, left Ushi Point Airfield carrying the atomic bomb that was to be dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, a second B-29 left Tinian carrying the bomb to be dropped on Nagasaki. The Japanese surrender, ending World War II, followed shortly after that.

Marine Corps News From World War Two: Security

Currently appearing in The Chevron is a series of articles on security.
The information might well be read and re-read, for every Marine ought to put security consciousness at the top of his list of habits. Organization commanders can’t pound too hard on security. In the field it’s the difference between life and death — an hourly business day and night.
Here at home, it’s equally important, for one careless word may endanger the lives of thousands of troops.
Check over again the list of the four causes of indiscretion — Conceit, Faith, Enthusiasm and Ignorance — and see whether you are measuring up or not in the tilings you say. . You wouldn’t deliberately sacrifice the life of a buddy.
Why do it unintentionally or through carelessness?

From The May 1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

Public Domain

Marine Corps News From World War Two: Brothers Stick Fast As Glue

SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACTFTC

Around here they’re still talking about the great brother act the Larkin boys put on for their Marine comrades, and how a good time was had by all — except the Japs. The Larkins not only stuck together all through recruit training right on up to the battlefields of Guadalcanal, but they also were together when the citations were passed out. Corps. Delbert James Larkin and Wilbur John larkin received letters of commendation from the Deputy Commander of the South Pacific area.
The citations said: “After an important communication cable had been cut by enemy shell fire, Corp. Wilbur J. Larkin and Corp. Delbert J, Larkin, with one other man, proceeded in extreme darkness into an area which was being heavily shelled by enemy naval units, located the severed cable and made effective repairs. Their courageous conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United Slates Naval Service.”

Marine Corps News From World War Two: President Approves Hospitalization Bill

WASHINGTON, D. C.

House resolutions calling for the expansion of facilities for hospitalization of Naval and Marine personnel dependents, and providing for issuance of devices in recognition of services of merchant sailors recently were approved by President Roosevelt.
Favorable reports were made by the Senate Naval Affairs committee on the following: An amended bill authorizing appointment of commissioned warrant and 3 warrant officers to commissioned rank in the line and staff corps of the Navy, Marine Corps and Const Guard, and a measure providing for coordination and consolidation of certain activities connected with administration in HQMC.

From The 29May1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

Marine Corps News From World War Two: Women Reserves Lose No Time Organizing Quarters

LOS ANGELES.

With typical Marine initiative, Women Reserves assigned to the Officer Procurement office here solved the housing problem in jig time. They rented a 10-room dwelling in Beverly Hills, pro-rated the overhead for rent and food and assigned one of their number, Clare McDonald, as business manager. T
Two girls are assigned to mess duly for two days and three to house cleaning, while the eighth is assigned to general duty.
Reveille sounds at 6:30 daily through Sgt. Cassie Patrick, an habitual riser at that hour.

From The 29May1943 Issue Of The Marine Corps Chevron

Public Domain

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