John Basilone (November 4, 1916 – February 19, 1945) was a United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who was killed in action during World War II.
He received the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle for Henderson Field in the Guadalcanal Campaign, and the Navy Cross posthumously for extraordinary heroism during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
He was the only enlisted Marine to receive both of these decorations in World War II.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 3, 1940, after serving three years in the United States Army with duty in the Philippines.
He was deployed to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in August 1942, he took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal.
In October, he and two other Marines used machine guns to hold off an attack by a far numerically superior Japanese force.
In February 1945, he was killed in action on the first day of the invasion of Iwo Jima, after he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield.
He has received many honors including being the namesake for streets, military locations, and two United States Navy destroyers.