On This Date- February 19,1945, Marine Sgt. John Basilone of Rartitan NJ is killed at Iwo Jima

February 19, 1945 – Marine Sgt John Basilone of Raritan, New Jersey, is killed at Iwo Jima. He
had already received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor at the Battle of
Guadalcanal. On this date, the first day of the invasion of Iwo Jima, he was serving as a
machine gun section leader on Red Beach II. While the Marines landed, the Japanese
concentrated their fire at the incoming Marines from heavily fortified blockhouses staged
throughout the island. With his unit pinned down, Basilone made his way around the side of the
Japanese positions until he was directly on top of the blockhouse. He then attacked with
grenades and demolitions, single-handedly destroying the entire strong point and its defending
He then fought his way toward Airfield Number 1 and aided a Marine tank that was trapped in
an enemy mine field under intense mortar and artillery barrages. He guided the heavy vehicle
over the hazardous terrain to safety, despite heavy weapons fire from the Japanese. As he
moved along the edge of the airfield, he was killed by Japanese mortar shrapnel.
The New Jersey Turnpike Bridge over the Raritan River is named in his honor, as are many
other sites and events around the Garden State.

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Feb 19 2025


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