Skip to comments.Last Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Guadalcanal USMC Colonel Mitchell Paige has died
Posted on 11/16/2003 8:15:05 PM PST by ErnBatavia
I probably blew the format for starting a thread...and didn't see posted elsewhere.
A true hero has moved on. My 56 year old self just went outside, faced the sky, and offered the best salute I've snapped in 35 years.
Rest In Peace, Mitch....proud and honored to have had your aquaintance.
He signed mine (which was tough to get)...and he gave me a hard time when I called it a "doll" - I was quickly corrected.
PltSgt MITCHELL PAIGE
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
PLATOON SERGEANT MITCHELL PAIGE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following
"For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area on October 26, 1942. When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, Platoon Sergeant 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 manned 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 break through in our lines. His great personal valor and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
/S/ FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
Yes...and I'm heartbroken; I didn't even hear this on the news, just found out by cruising the web.
?He lived here in La Quinta, California - and through my mother/Marilyn Paige's DAR connection, I was floored to get to meet him and shoot the breeze on occasion.
I'm just wigged out with shock right now...He was a fabulous guy
'Autumn, 1942: It came down to one Marine, and one ship'
I caught a program on KQED (PBS) the other night called American Valor, a 1 1/2 hour program that looked at the Cingressional Medal of Honor, its origins and such. There were a number of honorees interviewed and their stories retold. Mitchell Paige was one of those interviewed. Excellent program, very touching and revealing of human nature; foibles, frailties and all.
Marine Colonel Mitchell Paige, of Redwood City, California, won the nation's highest decoration during the campaign for Guadalcanal in October, 1942, when he made a desperate lone stand against enemy Japanese after they had broken through the lines and killed or wounded all of the Marines in his machine gun section.
Colonel Paige, (then a platoon sergeant) fired his machine gun until it was destroyed, then moved from gun to gun, keeping up a withering fire until he finally received reinforcements. He later led a bayonet charge that drove the Japanese back and prevented a breakthrough in our lines.
The Marine Corps' World War II Commandant, General Alexander A. Vandegrift presented the Medal of Honor to Colonel Paige at Melbourne, Australia, in the Spring of 1943.
Colonel Paige was born on August 31, 1918, at Charleroi, Pennsylvania, and graduated in 1936 from McKeesport High School at McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on September 1, 1936, at Baltimore, Maryland.
Completing his "boot camp" training at Parris Island, South Carolina, in November, 1936, he was transferred to Quantico, Virginia. Later he served aboard the USS Wyoming as a gunner and took part in maneuvers via Panama to San Clemente Island off the coast of California.
In February, 1937, he was transferred to Mare Island Navy Yard for guard duty, and two months later was ordered to Cavite in the Philippine Islands. While on Cavite he became a member of the All-Navy-Marine baseball team which gained prominence throughout the island and the orient. He served in China from October, 1938 to September, 1939. During his tour he guarded American property during the famous Tientsin flood.
He left North China and returned to the U.S. in April, 1940, for guard duty at the Brooklyn and Philadelphia Navy Yards. In September, 1940, he rejoined the 5th Marines, at Quantico, Virginia, and the following month participated in maneuvers at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Culebra, Puerto Rico. In March, 1941, he was transferred back to the States and ordered to New River, North Carolina, to help construct and prepare a new training base for Marines which later became Camp Lejeune.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Paige was once more sent overseas with the 7th Marines and landed at Apia, British Samoa. From Samoa the 7th Marines went to Guadalcanal, landing in September of 1942. He remained there until January, 1943, when he went to Melbourne, Australia with the 1st Marine Division. While on Guadalcanal he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the field on December 19, 1942. In June 1943, he was promoted to first lieutenant.
In September, 1943, he left with the 1st Marine Division for New Guinea where they joined the 6th Army for the attack on Cape Gloucester, New Britain, on December 26, 1943.
In May 1944, the Division left Cape Gloucester for a rest area in the Russell Islands, Pavuvu. In July, 1944, Major Paige was sent back to the States and assigned duty at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
In June, 1945, he became Tactical Training Officer at Camp Matthews, California, and the following September, was sent to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot as a recruit training officer.
Captain Paige was placed on inactive duty in May 1946, returning to active duty again in July 1950, and was assigned duty at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California.
He was later transferred to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, California, as Plans and Operations Officer of the 2d Recruit Training Battalion. At this time he also went on a special assignment as Plans and Training Officer in charge of setting up a PLC training program for the Special Training Company. He was promoted to the rank of major on January 1, 1951.
In October 1951, Major Paige became Executive Officer of the 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, until October 1952, when he was transferred to the 4th Special Junior Course, Marine Corps Educational Center, Company B, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia. He attended school there until May 1953, then served as Division Recruiting Officer, 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, until February 1954.
Major Paige was next assigned to Sub-Unit #2, Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3d Marine Division, San Francisco, California, serving as Officer in Charge, Division Noncommissioned Officers School, 3d Marine Division, until April 1955. During this period he also served briefly as Assistant Officer in Charge of Sub-Unit #1.
From there he served as Battalion Executive Officer and later Commanding Officer of the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, from April 1955 until August 1955 when he reported to the 12th Marine Corps Reserve and Recruitment District to serve as Officer in Charge of Marine Corps Recruiting Station in San Francisco and he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in May 1957.
In August 1957, Lieutenant Colonel Paige was assigned duty as Inspector-Instructor, 7th Infantry Battalion, USMCR, at San Bruno, California, until August 1958, when he was detached to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.
In May 1959, he entered the U.S. Army Language School in Monterey, California, and remained there for 9 months until he was ordered to the Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Station, San Diego, California, to serve as Executive Officer until October 1959. He was placed on the Disability Retired List on 1 November 1959. For being specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat he was promoted to colonel upon retirement.
A complete list of the colonel's decorations and medals includes: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Good Conduct Medal, the China Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, the American Campaign Medal, the Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon, and the United Nations Service Medal.
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