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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Harold Gonsalves

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Battery L, 4th Battalion, 15th Marines,
    6th Marine Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: April 15, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as acting scout sergeant with the 4th Battalion, 15th Marines, 6th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 15 April 1945. Undaunted by the powerfully organized opposition encountered on Motobu Peninsula during the fierce assault waged by his battalion against the Japanese stronghold at Mount Yaetake, Pfc. Gonsalves repeatedly braved the terrific enemy bombardment to aid his forward observation team in directing well-placed artillery fire. When his commanding officer determined to move into the front lines in order to register a more effective bombardment in the enemy's defensive position, he unhesitatingly advanced uphill with the officer and another marine despite a slashing barrage of enemy mortar and rifle fire. As they reached the front and a Japanese grenade fell close within the group, instantly Pfc. Gonsalves dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and thereby protecting the others from serious and perhaps fatal wounds. Stouthearted and indomitable, Pfc. Gonsalves readily yielded his own chances of survival that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy, and his cool decision, prompt action, and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service.
Medal of Honor Recipient Harold Gonsalves
Medal of Honor Recipient Harold Gonsalves
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: California
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: June 19, 1946
    San Francisco, California, presented by Gen. Henry L. Larsen to his Sister
  • Born: January 28, 1926, Alameda, Alameda County, CA, United States
  • Died: April 15, 1945, Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands
  • Buried: Golden Gate National Cemetery (MH) (B-61), San Bruno, CA, United States

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