b. 05/10/1925 St Louis, Illinois. d. 28/10/1998 Cathedral City, California.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 14-17/05/1945 Okinawa, Japan.
James Day was born October 5, 1925, in East St. Louis, Illinois. Day held a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a Masters of Business Administration degree.
He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1943. Day participated in combat action during World War II in the Marshall Islands, on Guam and on Okinawa, where for his heroic actions during the fight for Sugar Loaf Hill he was later awarded the Medal of Honor.
In September 1952, he completed The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, and was transferred to Korea where he served with Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines and the 1st Reconnaissance Company.
In April 1966, Maj Day served his first tour in Vietnam as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. Returning to Camp Pendleton in June 1967, he was assigned as the Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in July 1967 and in January 1968, he was reassigned as Battalion Commander, 2nd Infantry Training Regiment, Camp Pendleton.
Lieutenant Colonel Day served at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from July 1969 to June 1971 and attended the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, from July 1971 to June 1972. After graduation, he served his second tour in Vietnam as Operations Officer, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade, III Marine Amphibious Force.
Major General Day was presented the Medal of Honor on January 20, 1998, over a half a century after the World War II battle on Okinawa in which he distinguished himself.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a squad leader serving with the Second Battalion, Twenty-Second Marines, Sixth Marine Division, in sustained combat operations against Japanese forces on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands from 14 to 17 May 1945. On the first day, Corporal Day rallied his squad and the remnants of another unit and led them to a critical position forward of the front lines of Sugar Loaf Hill. Soon thereafter, they came under an intense mortar and artillery barrage that was quickly followed by a fanatical ground attack of about forty Japanese soldiers. Despite the loss of one-half of his men, Corporal Day remained at the forefront, shouting encouragement, hurling hand grenades, and directing deadly fire thereby repelling the determined enemy. Reinforced by six men, he led his squad in repelling three fierce night attacks but suffered five additional Marines killed and one wounded whom he assisted to safety. Upon hearing nearby calls for corpsman assistance, Corporal Day braved heavy enemy fire to escort four seriously wounded Marines, one at a time, to safety. Corporal Day then manned a light machine gun assisted by a wounded Marine, and halted another frenzied night attack. In this ferocious action, his machine gun was destroyed, and he suffered multiple white phosphorus and fragmentation wounds. Assisted by only one partially effective man, he reorganized his defensive position in time to halt a fifth enemy attack with devastating small arms fire. On three separate occasions, Japanese soldiers closed to within a few feet of his foxhole, but were killed by Corporal Day. During the second day, the enemy conducted numerous unsuccessful swarming attacks against his exposed position. When the attacks momentarily subsided, over 70 enemy dead were counted around his position. On the third day, a wounded and exhausted Corporal Day repulsed the enemy’s final attack and dispatched around 12 of the enemy at close range. Having yielded no ground and with more than 100 enemy dead around his position, Corporal Day preserved the lives of his fellow Marines and made a primal contribution to the success of the Okinawa campaign.
BURIAL LOCATION: FORT ROSECRANS NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.
SECTION P, GRAVE 1748
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.