CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 4
HAROLD EDWARD WILSON, USMCR (DECEASED)
Medal of Honor Citation
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Harold Edward Wilson earned the Nation’s highest award, the Medal of Honor, for heroism as a platoon sergeant of a rifle platoon in Korea on the night of 23-24 April 1951. He received the award from President Harry S. Truman during ceremonies at the White House on 11 April 1952.
Wounded four times during the night-long battle, he refused medical treatment to rally his men against overwhelming Communist forces. With both arms virtually disabled, he continued to pass ammunition to the hard-pressed Marines and moved from foxhole to foxhole aiding and encouraging his men. When the assault was finally broken, he personally accounted for each of his men before walking one-half mile unassisted to an aid station.
A month earlier, he had earned the Bronze Star Medal for “fearless and untiring leadership” of his platoon in several engagements from 1-27 March 1951. He had been wounded previously on 9 December 1950 during the Chosin Reservoir campaign.
Harold Edward Wilson was born 5 December 1921 in Birmingham, Alabama, and attended public schools there. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve and was assigned to active duty, 20 April 1942. During World War II, he served overseas for 27 months and was stationed on Midway Island. In addition to his Pacific service, he was stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and Portsmouth, Virginia. He was honorably discharged, 20 October 1945, with the rank of sergeant.
Two years later, he re-entered the Organized Marine Corps Reserve, joining the Birmingham unit. Recalled to active duty in August 1950 after the outbreak of the Korean conflict, he was assigned to Company G, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. Arriving with his unit in Korea in November 1950, he participated in the Wonsan landing, and later fought in the Chosin Reservoir campaign and in the first United Nations counteroffensive. Following the 23-24 April 1951 action in which he was wounded and earned the Medal of Honor, he was evacuated to the Yokosuka Naval Hospital in Japan and five months later returned to the United States. He was awarded a meritorious promotion to master sergeant in June 1951 and commissioned a warrant officer in August 1952. In December 1962, he assumed the post of Adjutant at the Marine Corps Engineer Schools, Camp Lejeune, and the following December was assigned to Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, serving as Adjutant and Personnel Officer of the 2d Tank Battalion.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Wilson was also a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving with Marine Aircraft Group 13 prior to being assigned as 6th Marine Corps District Personnel Officer in November 1968. He retired from the Marine Corps in February of 1972.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Wilson passed away in Lexington, South Carolina, on 29 March 1998. He was buried in Woodridge Memorial Park, Lexington, South Carolina.
A complete list of his decorations and medals includes: The Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” the Purple Heart with four Gold Stars indicative of five awards, two Presidential Unit Citations, the Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with three battle stars, the United Nations Service Medal, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
Korean War 1950-1953 Medal of Honor