This week’s Medal of Honor hero is a member of the famed “Walking Dead,” the 1st Battlalion 9th Marine, which was just deactivated by the Marines, after being reactivated in 2007 to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Walking Dead made their reputation fighting in the Pacific during the Second World War and in their service in Vietnam from 1965-1975 (!).
Leims was just 23-years-old when his moment came on that afternoon and evening at Iwo Jima and he responded, as we say: “Above and beyond the call of duty.”
Make the most of your day!
John H. Leims
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division. Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 7 March 1945. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 8 June 1921, Chicago, Ill.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 7 march 1945. Launching a surprise attack against the rock-imbedded fortification of a dominating Japanese hill position, 2d Lt. Leims spurred his company forward with indomitable determination and, skillfully directing his assault platoons against the cave-emplaced enemy troops and heavily fortified pillboxes, succeeded in capturing the objective in later afternoon. When it became apparent that his assault platoons were cut off in this newly won position, approximately 400 yards forward of adjacent units and lacked all communication with the command post, he personally advanced and laid telephone lines across the isolating expanse of open fire-swept terrain. Ordered to withdraw his command after he had joined his forward platoons, he immediately complied, adroitly affecting the withdrawal of his troops without incident. Upon arriving at the rear, he was informed that several casualties had been left at the abandoned ridge position beyond the frontlines. Although suffering acutely from the strain and exhausting of battle, he instantly went forward despite darkness and the slashing fury of hostile machinegun fire, located and carried to safety 1 seriously wounded marine and then, running the gauntlet of enemy fire for the third time that night, again made his tortuous way into the bullet-riddled deathtrap and rescued another of his wounded men. A dauntless leader, concerned at all time for the welfare of his men, 2d Lt. Leims soundly maintained the coordinated strength of his battle-wearied company under extremely difficult conditions and, by his bold tactics, sustained aggressiveness, and heroic disregard for all personal danger, contributed essentially to the success of his division’s operations against this vital Japanese base. His valiant conduct in the face of fanatic opposition sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.