Corporal Charles J. Berry's Medal of Honor

In the bloodiest battle in Marine Corps history, 27 Marines and sailors were awarded the Medal of Honor for action on Iwo Jima. No other campaign surpassed that number.

Charles Berry was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio. After graduating from high school, he joined the Marine Corps in October 1941. Berry went through parachute training, and after receiving his jump wings he joined the 1st Parachute Battalion. After fighting on Bougainville, Berry returned to the United States, where he was assigned to the 5th Marine Division.

Berry landed on Iwo Jima with the First Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines on February 19, 1945, as a member of a machine gun crew. On the 13th day of fierce fighting, Berry and his crew were overrun by a Japanese attack just after midnight on March 3. During the fight, Berry sacrificed himself to save his fellow Marines when he threw himself on a grenade. Corporal Charles Berry was 21 years old.

Medal of Honor Citation for Corporal Charles J. Berry

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as member of a machinegun crew, serving with the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 3 March 1945. Stationed in the front lines, Cpl. Berry manned his weapon with alert readiness as he maintained a constant vigil with other members of his guncrew during the hazardous night hours. When infiltrating Japanese soldiers launched a surprise attack shortly after midnight in an attempt to overrun his position, he engaged in a pitched hand grenade duel, returning the dangerous weapons with prompt and deadly accuracy until an enemy grenade landed in the foxhole. Determined to save his comrades, he unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and immediately dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting the others from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, Cpl. Berry fearlessly yielded his own life that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless battle against a ruthless enemy and his superb valor and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”


Kali Martin

Kali Martin earned a bachelor's degree in International Studies and German at the University of Miami and a master's degree in Military a...
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