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USS John Basilone (DDG-122)

CLASS - BURKE As Built.

Operational and Building Data
Named by SecNav Aug 16 2016.

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Basilone 71kJohn Basilone was one of a family of ten children. Born in Buffalo, New York, on November 4, 1916, to Italian parents, he went to St. Bernard Parochial School in Raritan, New Jersey and enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 18. After completing his three-year enlistment in the Philippines, where he was a champion boxer, he came home and went to work as a truck driver in Reisterstown, Maryland. In July 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in Baltimore, Maryland, believing that he could return to Manila quicker with the Marines than with the Army. Before going to the Solomon Islands he saw service at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in addition to training at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Camp Lejeune, then called New River. Gunnery Sergeant Basilone's buddies on Guadalcanal called him "Manila John" because he had served with the Army in The Philippines before enlisting in the Marine Corps. Private First Class Nash W. Phillips, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, recalled him from the battle for Guadalcanal: "Basilone had a machine gun on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest or food". "He was in a good emplacement, and causing the Japs lots of trouble, not only firing his machine gun but also using his pistol." Basilone was returned to the States and participated in a War Bond Tour. Medal of Honor recipients are generally not allowed to return to combat. However, Basilone requested a return to the fighting in the Pacific theatre. Basilone was serving with the 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division during the invasion of Iwo Jima. On Red Beach II, he and his platoon were pinned down by enemy gunfire. He single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse, allowing his unit to capture an airfield. Minutes later he was killed by an enemy artillery round. He was the only enlisted Marine in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross, as well as a Purple Heart. John Basilone is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Medal of Honor Citation Reads:

“For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area. Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines' defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machine guns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone's sections, with its guncrews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service”.
Bill Gonyo
Basilone 26kPoster for the USS John Basilone.Bill Gonyo
Basilone 132kU.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lewis Craparotta, Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force, makes remarks at the ship naming ceremony for the USS John Basilone (DDG-122) on Camp Pendleton, Calif., August 16, 2016. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler S. Dietrich.Bill Gonyo
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Naming Announcement Ceremony pamphlet
Ron Reeves

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