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thedrifter
11-23-03, 01:26 PM
11-19-2003

MoH Recipient: Paige, Mitchell, Platoon Sgt. USMC



Organization: U.S. Marine Corps. Place and date: Solomon Islands, 26 October 1942.



Entered service at: Pennsylvania. Born: 31 August 1918, Charleroi, Pa.



Citation: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a company of Marines in combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on 26 October 1942.



When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, Platoon Sgt. Paige, commanding a machine gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire against the advancing hordes until reinforcements finally arrived.



Then, forming a new line, he dauntlessly and aggressively led a bayonet charge, driving the enemy back and preventing a breakthrough in our lines. His great personal valor and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.



Editorís Note: Following his service in the Solomon Islands, Paige spent two more years in the South Pacific before returning home, and received a commission as a 2nd lieutenant. He was a veteran of the Korean War and retired in 1964 as a full colonel. Paige died of congestive heart failure at the age of 85 on Nov. 15 at his home in La Quinta, Calif., southeast of Palm Springs. A profile in The Washington Post this week noted that he spent much of his time in retirement aiding the FBI and law enforcement officials in seeking people who bought, sold or falsely claimed to have received the Medal of Honor.

http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=DefenseWatch.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=259&rnd=275.35590702283696


Sempers,

Roger
:marine:

thedrifter
11-23-03, 01:28 PM
Submitted by: MCAS Miramar
Story Identification Number: 2003112019419
Story by Sgt. Valerie A. Martinez



MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif.(Nov. 21, 2003) -- A piece of history was lost recently when an American hero and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient passed away.

Retired Marine Col. Mitchell Paige died from congestive heart failure at his home in La Quinta, Calif., Nov. 15, but the legacy and historic eyewitness accounts he left behind of World War II's Battle of Guadalcanal will live forever. At 85, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the historic ground battle lost his personal battle with reoccurring heart problems.

Only 23 years old, Paige was a platoon sergeant in charge of 34 machine gunners waiting in a defensive position to turn back a Japanese Division. Thousands of enemy soldiers were preparing for an early morning attack in the area surrounding Paige's outnumbered platoon.

At nearly 3 a.m. on Oct. 26, 1942, the still of night was broken by the muffled sound of equipment and Japanese soldiers closing in on Paige and his men. He moved from the safety of his foxhole to warn his Marines of the enemy's approach and ordered them to hold their fire until given the signal. As the enemy soldiers reached one of his machine gun positions, Paige and his Marines pulled their grenade pins, launched them into the darkness and erupted the battlefield.

Japanese mortars, grenades and machine gun fire immediately fell upon the Marines, and the first wave of enemy troops flanked Paige's machine gun position. For more than three hours the night sky was lit by American and Japanese fire, with nearly all of Paige's men being killed or wounded. On more than one occasion Paige dodged incoming rounds to fix jammed guns or fire unmanned ones, and was wounded on several occasions while trying to help his Marines load ammunition.

The first wave of enemy attacks died down long enough for another enemy platoon to climb the 70-foot ridge surrounding Paige's position. While looking out behind a steaming machine gun, Paige could see what should have been grass covered with morning dew was now a sea of dead bodies. From gun to gun Paige moved, searching for a living soul but finding only the dead bodies of his troops.

Dawn broke at nearly 5:30 a.m., and as the rest of the world slept, Paige picked up a machine gun, called out to any living American troops, and charged toward the sound of Japanese soldiers. The Marines followed Paige with fixed bayonets as he sprayed the enemy with his two remaining belts of ammunition. The few brave men fought off the last of the Japanese soldiers that morning and then listened to the eerie quiet that filled the deadened battlefield.

The citation Paige received for his heroic deeds that morning spoke of the fearless determination he used while commanding his machine gun section. "When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position ... (Paige) continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire against the advancing hordes until reinforcements finally arrived."

In a message to America, Paige wrote that receiving the Medal of Honor "was a tremendous award, but it was also quite humbling. I realize that what was accomplished at Guadalcanal was the result of teamwork, every Marine doing his job and looking out for each other. On the night I earned the Medal of Honor there were 33 men in my platoon. Every one of them was wounded doing his job ... I realize more than ever that when I put that high honor around my neck, it is there not to recall what I did so many years ago on one dark night, but what an entire Marine Division accomplished over four important months late in 1942."

Because of his actions and continued leadership, Paige was given a battlefield promotion to second lieutenant, and before retiring, held nearly every rank and assignment in the infantry battalion from private to commanding officer.

In addition to being one of 440 servicemembers awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty during World War II, Paige later wrote the book, "A Marine Named Mitch" and served as the model for the G.I. Joe Marine Doll.

The legacy Paige leaves behind is more than a battlefield story of survival. It is one of faith in what makes America 'the land of the free and home of the brave.'

"It is the moral obligation of every American to encourage our youth to hold high the torch of freedom and justice," said Paige. "We must not only live our lives according to the principle that freedom under God is man's destiny, but its every American's obligation to defend that freedom unto death with the courage of free men. This is every American's responsibility - man, woman, and child."

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/8ECD790EAE57637885256DE50003C4D4?opendocument


Sempers,

Roger
:marine: