Raised in Boston, Massachusetts, William Walsh joined the US Marine Corps in April 1942. Assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, known as Carlson’s Raiders, Walsh fought with the Raiders until they were disbanded. Walsh was a seasoned combat veteran of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, and the Russel Islands. After returning to the US, Walsh joined the 5th Marine Division. After landing on Iwo Jima, on February 27, 1945, his company was under fierce fire from Japanese positions when Walsh led his men in a charge towards a heavily defended ridge. On the second attempt, desperate Japanese soldiers began throwing grenades at the oncoming Marines. When a grenade landed in a crater that Walsh and other Marines were taking cover in, Walsh unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the impact and saving everyone else. Gunnery Sergeant William Walsh was 22 years old.