Tuesday, April 3, 2018

WW2 Iwo Jima Fallen - Medal of Honor hero Joseph Julian, 5th Marine Division

Platoon Sergeant Joseph Julian, 5th Marine Division, earned the Medal of Honor on Iwo Jima.
Joseph Rodolph Julian never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on April 3, 1918 in Massachusetts. His parents Joseph and Roselda were also both born in Massachusetts. His father worked as an auger shop filer and later as a print works finisher. Joseph had two younger sisters. By 1940 Joseph had completed two years of high school. He lived at home with his parents and worked as a cabinet maker.

He enlisted in the Marines in January 1942 and after basic training was selected to serve as a drill instructor. Later he served as a platoon sergeant in the 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division which was activated in January 1944. This was the same battalion where John Basilone, a Medal of Honor hero from Guadalcanal, also served. It first saw combat on Iwo Jima. It was a grueling and deadly effort for the 27th MR which suffered more than 2,200 casualties including 566 killed.

Sgt. Julian lasted until the nineteenth day of the battle. His actions on the day he died, March 9, 1945 resulted in a posthumous Medal of Honor.

His citation reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Platoon Sergeant. 

Determined to force a breakthrough when Japanese troops occupying trenches and fortified positions on the left front laid down a terrific machinegun and mortar barrage in a desperate effort to halt his company's advance, P/Sgt. Julian quickly established his platoon's guns in strategic supporting positions, and then, acting on his own initiative, fearlessly moved forward to execute a 1-man assault on the nearest pillbox. Advancing alone, he hurled deadly demolition and white phosphorus grenades into the emplacement, killing 2 of the enemy and driving the remaining 5 out into the adjoining trench system. 

Seizing a discarded rifle, he jumped into the trench and dispatched the 5 before they could make an escape. Intent on wiping out all resistance, he obtained more explosives and, accompanied by another marine, again charged the hostile fortifications and knocked out 2 more cave positions. 

Immediately thereafter, he launched a bazooka attack unassisted, firing 4 rounds into the 1 remaining pillbox and completely destroying it before he fell, mortally wounded by a vicious burst of enemy fire. 

Stouthearted and indomitable, P/Sgt. Julian consistently disregarded all personal danger and, by his bold decision, daring tactics, and relentless fighting spirit during a critical phase of the battle, contributed materially to the continued advance of his company and to the success of his division's operations in the sustained drive toward the conquest of this fiercely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. 

His outstanding valor and unfaltering spirit of self-sacrifice throughout the bitter conflict sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country”.

His grave is at Long Island National Cemetery in East Farmingdale, New York, 

Thank you Joseph for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Joseph.

Last year on this date I profiled P-40 pilot Marshall Camp. You can read about Marshall Camp here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.

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WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation

“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

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