LIEUTENANT COLONEL
JOSEPH JEREMIAH MCCARTHY, USMCR (DECEASED) 

 

Medal of Honor Citation

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Jeremiah McCarthy, who earned the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action while commanding a rifle company on Iwo Jima, died 15 June 1996 in Palm Beach, Florida.

Lieutenant Colonel McCarthy was born in Chicago, Illinois, 10 August 1911. He first enlisted in the Marine Corps on 20 February 1937 in Chicago and served for four years. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he re-enlisted and returned to active duty in February 1942. In June of that year, he was discharged with the rank of first sergeant in order to accept a commission in the Marine Corps Reserve.

He joined the 4th Marine Division shortly thereafter, and went overseas in January 1944. Overseas, he took part in the Roi-Namur, Saipan-Tinian, and Iwo Jima campaigns. For heroism as a rifle company commander on Saipan in 1944, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal. The Purple Heart with Gold Star was awarded him for wounds received on Saipan and Iwo Jima.

On 21 February 1945, as a captain, he earned the Medal of Honor on Iwo Jima, while leading an assault team across exposed ground to wipe out positions holding up the advance of his company. The Medal was presented him by President Harry S. Truman in ceremonies at the White House, 5 October 1945.

Released from active duty following the war, he held the grade of lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve.

World War II 1941-1945 Medal of Honor