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Korean War - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

James Irsley Poynter

Details
  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: Korean War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines,
    1st Marine Division (Rein)
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 4, 1950
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Sudong, Korea
Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader in a rifle platoon of Company A, in action against enemy aggressor forces during the defense of Hill 532, south of Sudong, Korea. When a vastly outnumbering, well-concealed hostile force launched a sudden, vicious counterattack against his platoon's hasty defensive position, Sgt. Poynter displayed superb skill and courage in leading his squad and directing its fire against the onrushing enemy. With his ranks critically depleted by casualties and he himself critically wounded as the onslaught gained momentum and the hostile force surrounded his position, he seized his bayonet and engaged in bitter hand-to-hand combat as the breakthrough continued. Observing three machine guns closing in at a distance of 25 yards, he dashed from his position and, grasping hand grenades from fallen marines as he ran, charged the emplacements in rapid succession, killing the crews of two and putting the other out of action before he fell, mortally wounded. By his self-sacrificing and valiant conduct, Sgt. Poynter inspired the remaining members of his squad to heroic endeavor in bearing down upon and repelling the disorganized enemy, thereby enabling the platoon to move out of the trap to a more favorable tactical position. His indomitable fighting spirit, fortitude, and great personal valor maintained in the face of overwhelming odds sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Medal of Honor Recipient James I. Poynter
Medal of Honor Recipient James I. Poynter
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Downey, Los Angeles County, California
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: September 4, 1952
    The Pentagon, presented by Sec. of the Navy Dan A. Kimball to his Widow
  • Born: December 1, 1916, Bloomington, McLean County, IL, United States
  • Died: November 4, 1950, Sudong, Korea
  • Buried: Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (MH) (0-729), San Diego, CA, United States
 

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