Leonard F. Mason (MOH)
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.
During the landing on Guam 22 July 1944, two enemy machine guns opened fire on Mason’s platoon. Although mortally wounded, Mason cleared out the hostile position, acting on his own initiative. His heroic act in the face of almost certain death enabled his platoon to accomplish its mission. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
In 1946, the destroyer USS Leonard F. Mason (DD-852) was named in his honor.
MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to
Leonard Foster Mason
Rank and Organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 2 February 1920, Middleboro, Kentucky.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as an automatic rifleman serving with the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Asan-Adelup Beachhead, Guam, Marianas Islands on 22 July 1944. Suddenly taken under fire by 2 enemy machineguns not more than 15 yards away while clearing out hostile positions holding up the advance of his platoon through a narrow gully, Pfc. Mason, alone and entirely on his own initiative, climbed out of the gully and moved parallel to it toward the rear of the enemy position. Although fired upon immediately by hostile riflemen from a higher position and wounded repeatedly in the arm and shoulder, Pfc. Mason grimly pressed forward and had just reached his objective when hit again by a burst of enemy machinegun fire, causing a critical wound to which he later succumbed. With valiant disregard for his own peril, he persevered, clearing out the hostile position, killing 5 Japanese, wounding another and then rejoining his platoon to report the results of his action before consenting to be evacuated. His exceptionally heroic act in the face of almost certain death enabled his platoon to accomplish its mission and reflects the highest credit upon Pfc. Mason and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.