b. 10/07/1923 Lorain, Ohio. d. 03/03/1945 Iwo Jima, Japan.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 03/03/1945 Iwo Jima, Japan.
Charles Joseph Berry was born in Lorain, Ohio, on July 10, 1923 and graduated from Clearview High School (Lorain, Ohio) in 1941. After graduation he went to work as a truck driver for a moving concern.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 1, 1941 when he was 18 years of age and was ordered to Parris Island, South Carolina, where he received his recruit training. Following the completion of recruit training, he was transferred for duty to the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, but shortly afterwards was ordered to the Marine Barracks, New River, North Carolina, where he entered parachute training. After qualifying as a parachutist, he was promoted to private first class on June 2, 1942.
He sailed from San Diego, California, on March 11, 1943, and arrived in New Caledonia later that month with the 1st Parachute Battalion, he left New Caledonia in September 1943. He arrived in the Solomon Islands a few weeks after his departure, and in October 1943, went to Vella La Vella, where he remained for one month. In November 1943, he landed at Bougainville, and during that campaign, took part in the raid at Koairi Beach and in the Empress Augusta Bay action. Prior to returning to the United States in February 1944, he spent a short time at Guadalcanal. Following his arrival at Camp Elliott, San Diego, he joined the newly organized 5th Marine Division in early 1944. In July he departed for the Hawaiian Islands with that division. He was advanced to corporal on July 22, 1944.
He landed on Iwo Jima on D-Day, February 19, 1945, and was killed in action on March 3, 1945, during the action which earned him the Medal of Honor.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of a Machine-gun Crew, serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 3 March 1945. Stationed in the front lines, Corporal Berry manned his weapon with alert readiness as he maintained a constant vigil with other members of his gun crew during the hazardous night hours. When infiltrating Japanese soldiers launched a surprise attack shortly after midnight in an attempt to overrun his position, he engaged in a pitched hand grenade duel, returning the dangerous weapons with prompt and deadly accuracy until an enemy grenade landed in the foxhole. Determined to save his comrades, he unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and immediately dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting the others from serious injury.
BURIAL LOCATION: ELMWOOD CEMETERY, LORAIN, OHIO.
SECTION 12, LOT 5248 GRAVE 1.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORAIN PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM, LORAIN, OHIO.