b. 21/10/1922 Greeneville, Tennessee. d. 04/05/1945 Okinawa, Japan.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 04/05/1945 Okinawa, Japan.
Elbert Kinser was born in Greeneville, Tennessee on October 21, 1922. He worked on his father's farm prior to joining the Marine Corps. Kinser enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in December 1942 and received his recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
He sailed from the United States in March 1943, and joined the 7th Replacement Battalion in Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samoa. Later, that battalion joined the 1st Marine Division in Melbourne, Australia, and Sgt Kinser was assigned to Company I, 1st Marines.
Action with the 1st Marines followed at Cape Gloucester, New Britain in Operation Cartwheel, and later at Battle of Peleliu in Peleliu, Palau Islands.
On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, Sgt Kinser landed with his unit on the Japanese island Okinawa. There Sergeant Kinser acting as a leader of a rifle platoon, serving with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, and was subsequently killed in action on May 4, 1945. During a hand grenade battle, a Japanese grenade landed in the immediate vicinity, Kinser unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the full charge of the shattering explosion in his own body and thereby protecting his men from serious injury and possible death. This won him the nation's highest military decoration.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while acting as Leader of a Rifle Platoon, serving with Company I, Third Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, in action against Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryky Chain, May 4, 1945. Taken under sudden, close attack by hostile troops entrenched on the reverse slope while moving up a strategic ridge along which his platoon was holding newly won positions, Sergeant Kinser engaged the enemy in a fierce hand grenade battle. Quick to act when a Japanese grenade landed in the immediate vicinity, Sergeant Kinser unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the full charge of the shattering explosion in his own body and thereby protecting his men from serious injury and possible death. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had yielded his own chance of survival that his comrades might live to carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His courage, cool decision and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
BURIAL LOCATION: SOLOMON LUTHERAN CEMETERY, GREENEVILLE, TENNESSEE.
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