Harold G. Epperson

Harold G. Epperson (MOH)

Harold Glenn Epperson was born 14 July 1923  in Akron, Ohio.

As a member of the 1st Battalion 6th Marines, Private First Class (PFC)  Harold Glenn Epperson shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded his organization for its service at the Battle of Tarawa during World War II.

PFC Epperson died in action against the Japanese on Saipan on 25 June 1944 when he threw himself upon an enemy grenade in order to save the lives of his fellow Marines.

Epperson's Medal of Honor was presented to his mother at rites on Wednesday, 4 July 1945 in Tiger Stadium, Massillon, Ohio.

The setting of the presentation was appropriate - the stadium, the Massillon High School Band and 8,500 of the townspeople among whom the 20-year-old hero spent his childhood and youth before entering military service. Born in Akron, Ohio, Epperson grew up in Massillon and graduated from Washington High School there in 1941. He was employed at Goodyear Aircraft in Akron before enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve on 12 December 1942.

The Medal of Honor was presented to PFC Epperson's mother by Col. Norman E. True,  Marine Corps officer of the 9th Naval District and commanding officer of the Marine Barracks at Great Lakes, Illinois. PFC Epperson's parents, who moved to Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, following their son's death, elected to return to Massillon for the ceremonies because they felt their son "would have liked it that way." The citation signed by President Harry S. Truman and a letter from Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, Commandant of the Marine Corps, were read by Col. True during the ceremony.

Initially buried in the 2nd Marine Division Cemetery on Saipan, Marianas Islands, PFC Epperson's remains were re-interred in Winchester Cemetery, Winchester, Kentucky, in 1948 at the specific request of his parents.

 

Medal of HonorMedal of Honor Citation

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 14 July 1923, Akron, Ohio. Accredited to: Ohio (Interred in Kentucky).

Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Island of Saipan in the Marianas, on 25 June 1944. With his machinegun emplacement bearing the full brunt of a fanatic assault initiated by the Japanese under cover of predawn darkness, PFC. Epperson manned his weapon with determined aggressiveness, fighting furiously in the defense of his battalion's position and maintaining a steady stream of devastating fire against rapidly infiltrating hostile troops to aid materially in annihilating several of the enemy and in breaking the abortive attack. Suddenly a Japanese soldier, assumed to be dead, sprang up and hurled a powerful hand grenade into the emplacement. Determined to save his comrades, PFC Epperson unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and, diving upon the deadly missile, absorbed the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body. Stouthearted and indomitable in the face of certain death, PFC Epperson fearlessly yielded his own life that his able comrades might carry on the relentless battle against a ruthless enemy. His superb valor and unfaltering devotion to duty throughout reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

William R. Higgins
William R. Higgins

William Richard "Rich" Higgins (January 15, 1945 - July 6, 1990) was a United States Marine Corps colonel who was captured in 1988 while serving on a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. He was held hostage, tortured and eventually brutally murdered by his captors.

Leonard F. Mason (MOH)
Leonard F. Mason

Leonard Foster Mason (22 February 1920 - 22 July 1944) served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Mason, born Middlesboro, Kentucky, 22 February 1920, enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1943. Promoted to private first class in March 1943, Mason was sent to the Pacific war zone in October.

John J. McGinty III (MOH)
John J. McGinty III

John J. McGinty III was born on 21 January 1940 in Boston, Massachusetts. He completed grammar school in Louisville, Kentucky in 1955, and attended high school in Louisville for a year and a half prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corps Reserve on 19 February 1957. Discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve, he enlisted in the Regular Marine Corps on 3 March 1958.

Dakota L. Meyer (MOH)
Dakota L. Meyer

Dakota L. Meyer is a United States Marine Corps veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Ganjgal on September 8, 2009, part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

Presley N. O'Bannon
Presley N. O'Bannon

On a lonely knoll in a Frankfort, Kentucky cemetery stands a simple stone marking the grave of the "Hero of Derne". It is among the final resting places of vice-presidents, senators, governors, artists, and scores of local patriots who fell in action against the wilderness and foreign aggressors.