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Interesting, Mark. I went looking at a news story here and found some Medal of Honor winners, and one from Dayton, Ohio, drew my attention quickly. I pass by a memorial to him just about every day, and never knew the story till yesterday:
World War II, Marine Corps Reserve
Rank and unit Corporal
Birth date 30 September 1921
Birth city Dayton
Birth county Montgomery
Birth state Ohio
Birth country United States of America
Accredited state Ohio
Place of action Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands
Date of action 19 February 1945
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company A, 1st Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, in the Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945.
The first man of his unit to be on station after hitting the beach in the initial assault, Cpl. Stein, armed with a personally improvised aircraft-type weapon, provided rapid covering fire as the remainder of his platoon attempted to move into position.
When his comrades were stalled by a concentrated machinegun and mortar barrage, he gallantly stood upright and exposed himself to the enemy's view, thereby drawing the hostile fire to his own person and enabling him to observe the location of the furiously blazing hostile guns.
Determined to neutralize the strategically placed weapons, he boldly charged the enemy pillboxes 1 by 1 and succeeded in killing 20 of the enemy during the furious single-handed assault.
Cool and courageous under the merciless hail of exploding shells and bullets which fell on all sides, he continued to deliver the fire of his skillfully improvised weapon at a tremendous rate of speed which rapidly exhausted his ammunition.
Undaunted, he removed his helmet and shoes to expedite his movements and ran back to the beach for additional ammunition, making a total of 8 trips under intense fire and carrying or assisting a wounded man back each time.
Despite the unrelenting savagery and confusion of battle, he rendered prompt assistance to his platoon whenever the unit was in position, directing the fire of a half-track against a stubborn pillbox until he had effected the ultimate destruction of the Japanese fortification.
Later in the day, although his weapon was twice shot from his hands, he personally covered the withdrawal of his platoon to the company position.
Stouthearted and indomitable, Cpl. Stein, by his aggressive initiative sound judgment, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of terrific odds, contributed materially to the fulfillment of his mission, and his outstanding valor throughout the bitter hours of conflict sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Bringing this back to the fore, because I just heard a story on the CBS Evening News about Jim "Pee Wee" Martin, who parachuted into Normandy in 1944. Laura, he's from the Dayton area (Xenia, specifically).
I Googled him and came across articles that included a story about what was supposed to be his last parachute jump in 2010, when he was 89. That one was in Ohio. Well not so fast, he's going to jump again into Normandy later this week. Pretty amazing.
I also came across this Flickr gallery of some of Jim's WWII photos.
As an aside, Whiskey 7 will...Show more →