b. 24/10/1919 Herrin, Illinois. d. 28/07/1944 Tinian, Mariana Islands.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 28/07/1944 Tinian, Mariana Islands.
Joseph Ozbourn was born in Herrin, Illinois on October 24, 1919. He attended grammar school in Buckner, Illinois, and subsequently became a trip rider in the mines for the Old Ben Coal Corporation in West Frankfort, Illinois. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on October 30, 1943.
On July 30, 1944, while serving as a Browning Automatic Rifleman serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-Third Marines, Fourth Marine Division, during the Battle of Tinian, Private Ozbourn died after hurling himself on a live hand grenade thus saving the lives of four fellow Marines. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Browning Automatic Rifleman serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-Third Marines, Fourth Marine Division, during the battle for enemy Japanese-held Tinian Island, Marianas Islands, 30 July 1944. As a member of a platoon assigned the mission of clearing the remaining Japanese troops from dugouts and pillboxes along a tree line, Private Ozbourn, flanked by two men on either side, was moving forward to throw an armed hand grenade into a dugout when a terrific blast from the entrance severely wounded the four men and himself. Unable to throw the grenade into the dugout and with no place to hurl it without endangering the other men, Private Ozbourn unhesitatingly grasped it close to his body and fell upon it, sacrificing his own life to absorb the full impact of the explosion but saving his comrades. His great personal valor and unwavering loyalty reflect the highest credit upon Private Ozbourn and the United States Naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
BURIAL LOCATION: NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF PACIFIC, HONOLULU, HAWAII.
Section F, Grave 77
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