Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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World War II - U.S. Navy

Rufus Geddie Herring

Details
  • Rank: Lieutenant, j.g. (Highest Rank: Lieutenant)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Landing Craft Infantry Gunboat LCI(G)-449,
    LCI(G) Group 8
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 17, 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 commanding officer of LCI (G) 449 operating as a unit of LCI (G) Group 8, during the pre-invasion attack on Iwo Jima on 17 February 1945. Boldly closing the strongly fortified shores under the devastating fire of Japanese coastal defense guns, Lt. (then Lt. [jg]) Herring directed shattering barrages of 40-mm and 20-mm gunfire against hostile beaches until struck down by the enemy's savage counterfire which blasted the 449's heavy guns and whipped her decks into sheets of flame. Regaining consciousness despite profuse bleeding he was again critically wounded when a Japanese mortar crashed the conning station, instantly killing or fatally wounding most of the officers and leaving the ship wallowing without navigational control. Upon recovering the second time, Lt. Herring resolutely climbed down to the pilothouse and, fighting against his rapidly waning strength, took over the helm, established communication with the engineroom, and carried on valiantly until relief could be obtained. When no longer able to stand, he propped himself against empty shell cases and rallied his men to the aid of the wounded; he maintained position in the firing line with his 20-mm guns in action in the face of sustained enemy fire, and conned his crippled ship to safety. His unwavering fortitude, aggressive perseverance, and indomitable spirit against terrific odds reflect the highest credit upon Lt. Herring and uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Medal of Honor Recipient Rufus G. Herring
Medal of Honor Recipient Rufus G. Herring
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Roseboro, Sampson County, North Carolina
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: September 17, 1945

    Washington, D.C., presented by Sec. of the Navy James V. Forrestal

  • Born: June 11, 1921, Roseboro, Sampson County, NC, United States
  • Died: January 31, 1996, Roseboro, NC, United States
  • Buried: Hollywood Cemetery (MH) (279), Roseboro, NC, United States
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