Medal of Honor Citation

Master Sergeant Alford Lee McLaughlin, the 33rd Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Korean fighting, earned the Nation’s highest decoration for his intrepid two-machine-gun defense of a lonely outpost on “Bunker Hill.” He was decorated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 27 October 1953 at a ceremony in the White House.

A private first class at the time, he kept firing his two machine guns alternately, notwithstanding his painful wounds and blistered hands, until the guns became too hot to hold. Then he carried on with a carbine and grenades until some 200 Chinese lay dead or wounded in front of him. In addition to the Medal of Honor, PFC McLaughlin received a Gold Star in lieu of his second Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered in that action. He was awarded his first Purple Heart for wounds received 16 August 1952 in the same sector.

Born on 18 March 1928, in Leeds, Alabama, Alford Lee McLaughlin attended school in Leeds until 1944 and then enlisted in the Marine Corps on 3 May 1945. After completing recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, until embarking for Guam in November 1945. From Guam he was ordered to Japan in March 1946, serving in the occupation of that country until August 1947. He then served with the 4th Marines, participating in Caribbean maneuvers from January to March 1948, and again from February to March 1949. He served in the Mediterranean from September 1948 to January 1949.

Private First Class McLaughlin was assigned to the Marine Detachment at the U.S. Naval Disciplinary Barracks, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from June 1949 until September 1951. He was next assigned to Camp Pendleton, California, for further training before leaving for Korea in February 1952. He fought in the second Korean winter, the summer-fall defense of 1952, and in the third Korean winter before he left Korea in January 1953.

He then served as a military policeman at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, until July 1953, when he was assigned as a mortar unit leader with the 4th Marine Corps Reserve Rifle Company at Rome, Georgia. He was later assigned to the 10th Marines, Camp Lejeune, and retired from the Marine Corps in 1972 as a master sergeant.

Master Sergeant McLaughlin died 14 January 1977 and was buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery, Leeds, Alabama.

In addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart with Gold Star in lieu of a second award, MSgt McLaughlin held the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia and Europe clasps; the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars; the United Nations Service Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.

Korean War Medal of Honor

Marine Corps University