Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

John N Reese Jr.

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company B, 148th Infantry,
    37th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 9, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Paco Railroad Station, Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands

He was engaged in the attack on the Paco Railroad Station, which was strongly defended by 300 determined enemy soldiers with machine guns and rifles, supported by several pillboxes, three 20-mm guns, one 37-mm gun, and heavy mortars. While making a frontal assault across an open field, his platoon was halted 100 yards from the station by intense enemy fire. On his own initiative he left the platoon, accompanied by a comrade, and continued forward to a house 60 yards from the objective. Although under constant enemy observation, the two men remained in this position for an hour, firing at targets of opportunity, killing more than 35 Japanese and wounding many more. Moving closer to the station and discovering a group of Japanese replacements attempting to reach pillboxes, they opened heavy fire, killed more than 40 and stopped all subsequent attempts to man the emplacements. Enemy fire became more intense as they advanced to within 20 yards of the station. From that point Pfc. Reese provided effective covering fire and courageously drew enemy fire to himself while his companion killed seven Japanese and destroyed a 20-mm gun and heavy machine gun with hand grenades. With their ammunition running low, the two men started to return to the American lines, alternately providing covering fire for each other as they withdrew. During this movement, Pfc. Reese was killed by enemy fire as he reloaded his rifle. The intrepid team, in 2 and one half hours of fierce fighting, killed more than 82 Japanese, completely disorganized their defense, and paved the way for subsequent complete defeat of the enemy at this strongpoint. By his gallant determination in the face of tremendous odds, aggressive fighting spirit, and extreme heroism at the cost of his life, Pfc. Reese materially aided the advance of our troops in Manila and provided a lasting inspiration to all those with whom he served.

Medal of Honor Recipient John N. Reese, Jr.
Medal of Honor Recipient John N. Reese, Jr.
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Pryor, Mayes County, Oklahoma
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Born: June 13, 1923, Muskogee, Muskogee County, OK, United States
  • Died: February 9, 1945, Philippine Islands
  • Buried: Fort Gibson National Cemetery (MH) (2-1259-E), Fort Gibson, OK, United States

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