Mount Suribachi (fig. 2-16). The date was 23
February 1945. These six men were Sergeant Michael
Strank of Pennsylvania; Corporal Harlan H. Block of
Texas; Privates First Class Franklin R. Sousley of
Kentucky, Rene A. Gagnon of New Hampshire, and
Ira H. Hayes of Arizona; and Pharmacists Mate
Second Class John H. Bradley of Wisconsin. Admiral
Chester W. Nimitz singled out these men as
representatives of the "uncommon valor" shown by
the Marines on Iwo Jima at a cost of 5,017 dead and
The sacrifices made by these men live on in the
minds and hearts of Americans. A monument and
flagstaff were dedicated to those heroes on top of
Mount Suribachi. The United States Marine Corps
War Memorial (a bronze statue with 32-foot figures),
immortalizing the deed, stands just outside Arlington
National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
THE KOREAN CONFLICT
The Korean conflict had its acts of heroism also.
We have innumerable accounts of men of
Figure 2-16.-Raising The colors under fire after
the charge up Mount Suribachi.
the Navy and Marine Corps who gave their lives in
Representative of these men was Private First
Class Walter C. Monegan, Jr. When his battalion
encountered six T-34 medium tanks, he destroyed one
and halted the advance of the other five tanks with
his rocket launcher. A few days later, North Korean
tanks again menaced his battalion. Monegan
snatched up his rocket launcher and started toward
the enemy. He spotted three T-34s. He sent a round
slamming into the nearest tank, piercing its armored
hull and spraying the crew with fragments of steel.
Turning quickly, he fired on the second, causing it to
erupt into flames. Caught in the light of this roaring
fire, he raised his weapon and advanced upon the
third vehicle. Just as he was about to pull the trigger,
he was killed by fire from an enemy machine gun.
THE VIETNAM CONFLICT
Most heroes are very much like the boy next
doornice guys, but not particularly unusual until,
in a time of crisis, they do something extraordinary.
This section describes the actions of five men who
distinguished themselves in combat in Vietnam by
risking their lives above and beyond the call of duty.
All five were awarded the nations highest award
the Medal of Honor; however, only one, James E.
Williams, lived to receive the award personally.
MARVIN G. SHIELDS
Marvin G. Shields, a Construction Mechanic Third
Class, was a Seabee attached to Mobile Construction
Battalion 11 at Dong Xoai. Near midnight on 9 June
1965, the Vietcong (VC) lobbed a mortar shell (or
perhaps it was a rocket) over the compound.
Everyone immediately grabbed weapons and manned
Although the attack was a heavy one and Shields
was wounded early in the action, these obstacles
didnt seem to slow down his fighting ability. When
ammunition ran low, it was Shields who made
several resupply trips to the ammo trailer, crossing
150 feet of ground exposed to mortar fire. When the
VC came pouring in, the defenders fell back to new
positions. Shields and another man took the time to
move an officer with broken legs through a hail of
bullets to the relatively safe headquarters building.