20 years old from Wilimington, North Carolina
2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division
August 2, 1924 - May 10, 1945
Pharmacist's Mate Second Class William Halyburton lost his life in Okinawa, Japan when his unit was under heavy fire and he ran, without thought of his own safety, to help a fallen Marine. As he was shielding the Marine's body with his own, while administering aid, PhM2 Halyburton was mortally wounded. For his actions on that day he was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor:
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Pharmacist's Mate Second Class William David Halyburton, Jr., United States Naval Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman with a Marine Rifle Company in the SECOND Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, on 10 May 1945. Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of Japanese counterfire as his unit pushed the attack through a strategically important draw, Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Halyburton unhesitatingly dashed across the draw and up the hill into an open fire-swept field where the company advance squad was suddenly pinned down under a terrific concentration of mortar, machinegun and sniper fire with resultant severe casualties. Moving steadily forward despite the enemy's merciless barrage, he reached the wounded Marine who lay farthest away and was rendering first aid when his patient was struck for the second time by a Japanese bullet. Instantly placing himself in the direct line of fire, he shielded the fallen fighter with his own body and staunchly continued his ministrations although constantly menaced by the slashing fury of shrapnel and bullets falling on all sides. Alert, determined and completely unselfish in his concern for the helpless Marine, he persevered in his efforts until he himself sustained mortal wounds and collapsed, heroically sacrificing himself that his comrade might live. By his outstanding valor and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of tremendous odds, Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Halyburton sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
He was also honored with a guided missile frigate, the USS Halyburton, being named after him.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look
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