Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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World War II - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Ross Franklin Gray

Details
  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines,
    4th Marine Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 21, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands
Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a platoon sergeant attached to Company A, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 21 February 1945. Shrewdly gaging the tactical situation when his platoon was held up by a sudden barrage of hostile grenades while advancing toward the high ground northeast of Airfield No. 1, Sgt. Gray promptly organized the withdrawal of his men from enemy grenade range, quickly moved forward alone to reconnoiter, and discovered a heavily mined area extending along the front of a strong network of emplacements joined by covered trenches. Although assailed by furious gunfire, he cleared a path leading through the minefield to one of the fortifications, then returned to the platoon position and, informing his leader of the serious situation, volunteered to initiate an attack under cover of three fellow marines. Alone and unarmed but carrying a huge satchel charge, he crept up on the Japanese emplacement, boldly hurled the short-fused explosive, and sealed the entrance. Instantly taken under machine-gun fire from a second entrance to the same position, he unhesitatingly braved the increasingly vicious fusillades to crawl back for another charge, returned to his objective, and blasted the second opening, thereby demolishing the position. Repeatedly covering the ground between the savagely defended enemy fortifications and his platoon area, he systematically approached, attacked, and withdrew under blanketing fire to destroy a total of six Japanese positions, more than 25 troops, and a quantity of vital ordnance gear and ammunition. Stouthearted and indomitable, Sgt. Gray had singlehandedly overcome a strong enemy garrison and had completely disarmed a large minefield before finally rejoining his unit. By his great personal valor, daring tactics, and tenacious perseverance in the face of extreme peril, he had contributed materially to the fulfillment of his company's mission. His gallant conduct throughout enhanced and sustained the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Medal of Honor Recipient Ross F. Gray
Medal of Honor Recipient Ross F. Gray
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Alabama
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: April 16, 1946
    Presented to his mother by Adm. A. S. Merrill at Centerviille High School, Centerville, Alabama
  • Born: August 1, 1920, Marvel Valley, Bibb County, AL, United States
  • Died: February 27, 1945, Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands
  • Buried: Ada Chapel Cemetery (MH), West Blocton, AL, United States
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