John Basilone (November 4, 1916 – February 19, 1945) was a United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant who received the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. He was the only enlisted Marine in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross.
He served three years in the United States Army with duty in the Philippines before joining the Marine Corps. In 1940, he joined the Marine Corps and after attending training was sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Solomon Islands and eventually to Guadalcanal where he held off 3,000 Japanese troops after his 15-member unit was reduced to two men.
While on Guadalcanal his fellow Marines gave him the nickname "Manila John" due to his former service in the Philippines. On the night of October 24–25, 1942 his unit engaged the Japanese in the Lunga area when their position came under attack by a regiment of approximately 3,000 soldiers
. The Japanese forces began a frontal attack using machine-guns, grenades and mortars against the American heavy machine-guns. Basilone commanded two sections of machineguns that fought for the next 48 hours until only Basilone and two other men were still able to continue fighting. Basilone moved an extra gun into position and maintained continual fire against the incoming Japanese forces. He repaired another machine-gun and personally manned it, holding the defensive line until replacements arrived
. With the continuous fighting, ammunition became critically low and supply lines were cut off. Basilone fought through hostile lines and returned with urgently needed ammunition for his gunners.
By the end of the battle, the Japanese regiment was virtually annihilated. For his actions during this battle he received the United States military's highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor.
Afterwards Private First Class Nash W. Phillips, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, recalled 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 Japanese lots of trouble, not only firing his machine gun but also using his pistol