“Reflections of a Soldiers Service” By Connor Swenson (A Military Historian In the Making)
John Basilone was born November 4th,1917 in Buffalo, NY in the same town my grandfather was born. Basilone, like my grandfather, enlisted in the Army and completed a three-year enlistment. My grandfather got out after his 3-year enlistment, but Basilone then enlisted in the Marine Corps who sent him to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The battle for Guadalcanal is where Basilone story of service made an impression on me.
In 1942, during the Battle for Henderson field his unit came under attack by a regiment of about 3,000 Japanese soldiers using machine guns, grenades, and mortars against the American Heavy Machine Guns. Basilone commanded two sections of machine guns which fought for the next two days until only Basilone and two other Marines were left standing. By the end of the engagement, Japanese forces opposite the Marines' lines had been virtually annihilated. For his actions during this battle, Basilone received the military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.
Basilone continued to serve and on the first day of the Invasion of Iwo Jima, Basilone was serving as a machine gun section leader on Red Beach 2. He guided his unit over hazardous terrain to safety, despite heavy weapons fire from the Japanese. As he moved along the edge of the airfield, he was killed by Japanese mortar shrapnel. His actions helped Marines penetrate the Japanese defense and get off the landing beach during the critical early stages of the invasion. Basilone was posthumously awarded the Marine Corps' second-highest decoration for valor, the Navy Cross, for extraordinary heroism during the battle of Iwo Jima. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington Virginia.
Basilone like the Marines from Lima Company out of Columbus, Ohio exemplifies service before self and his story should serve as a reminder of the incredible courage one makes to defend our country and defend their comrades in arms.