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Eternal Valor: The Historic Legacy of John Basilone

Posted on Thursday, March 14, 2024
by Ian Gargan
john basilone

The Battle of Guadalcanal: Basilone's Night of Valor

On the night of October 24th, 1942, under the shroud of a pitch-black night, pierced only by the intermittent flares of gunfire, John Basilone and his team found themselves at the heart of a desperate struggle. The Japanese forces launched a fierce assault, but the 26-year-old Gunnery Sergeant was not going to let his troops be overcome. Bullets whizzed through the air, just barely missing him on numerous occasions. The incessant gunfire illuminated the night sky. Despite being heavily outnumbered, John Basilone continued to fight off waves of Japanese attackers. “Stay sharp, boys!” Basilone’s voice cut through the din of battle, steadying his men. With each enemy wave, their ammunition dwindled, but Basilone was everywhere at once—reloading guns, fixing jammed rifles, and shouting words of encouragement. “We hold this line! No one falls back!”

As dawn began to break, the orange and pink sky began to unveil the grim reality of a landscape littered with Japanese casualties. Little did John know that his relentless bravery would earn him the Medal of Honor and secure his place in the annals of military history.

A Hero Returns: Basilone's Time Stateside

After Guadalcanal, Basilone was sent back to the United States, where he was greeted as a hero and utilized in a war bond tour. But John was built differently than most. He couldn’t just sit idle at home; he did not enjoy being stateside; he knew where he needed to be. He yearned to be with his fellow Marines. He insisted on redeploying with the men of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division.

The Battle of Iwo Jima: Basilone's Final Stand

The Battle of Iwo Jima took place in early 1945, and the Americans desperately looked to capture the island so they could have an airbase close to the Japanese Mainland. The battles were bloody and brutal, with casualties on both sides. The Japanese had employed guerrilla tactics, making extensive use of their underground tunnels, giving them the element of surprise. In the early days of the battle, Basilone, amidst heavy enemy fire, ensured the Marines established a beachhead. This was essential for the next stages of the battle. He led his men through hellish gunfire and kept them motivated to continue fighting up the beach.

Basilone and two other Marines attacked a Japanese bunker that was hindering the advancement of his unit. After successfully clearing the bunker, he saw in the distance a tank that had become trapped in a minefield. It was a sitting target for Japanese artillery. Despite being under heavy fire, he navigated the perilous battlefield, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to his fellow servicemen. Tragically, this would be his final act of heroism. As he guided the tank to safety, saving the lives of many of his fellow Marines, he was mortally wounded by enemy gunfire.

Legacy and Honors: Remembering John Basilone

Posthumously, he was awarded the Naval Cross, joining another elite group of soldiers that have received both the Naval Cross and the Medal of Honor. John Basilone’s final stand is remembered as a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice and leadership. In a war he didn’t need to be part of, he showcased his indomitable spirit and steadfast dedication to his comrades. Basilone’s Spirit and Valor will live on in the hearts and minds of Americans eternally.

Read more about great American Veterans here.

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30 days ago

A great American hero, was John Basilone. What a brave, loyal, dedicated, determined, young man he was. Contrast his character with the fool in our White House.

Michael Bishop
Michael Bishop
30 days ago

One of the Main Avenues into Camp Pendleton California is Basilone Road!

28 days ago

Another GREAT Marine in USMC Hall of Fame.

29 days ago

Basilone is a major figure in the HBO/MAX’s “Pacific”10 part series. Created by the group that did “Band of Brothers”.
”Duty, Honor, Country” counts with heroes, always, whatever their country.

Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith
27 days ago

A Great Marine!

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