Day, James Lewis

Date of birth:
October 5th, 1925 (East St. Louis/Illinois, United States)
Date of death:
October 28th, 1998 (Cathedral City/California, United States)
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!

Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Corporal
Unit:
Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division "The Striking Sixth", U.S. Marine Corps
Awarded on:
January 20th, 1998
Awarded for:
Operation Iceberg
Action:
Citation:
"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, Ryukya 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 ferocious ground attack by some 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 night attack. In the ferocious action, his machine gun was destroyed, and he suffered multiple white phosphorous and fragmentation wounds. He reorganized his defensive position in time to halt a fifth enemy attack with devastating small arms fire. On three separated 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, killing a dozen enemy soldiers 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 significant contribution to the success of the Okinawa campaign. By his extraordinary heroism, repeated acts of valor, and quintessential battlefield leadership, Corporal Day inspired the efforts of his outnumbered Marines to defeat a much larger enemy force, reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."
Medal of Honor - Navy/Marine Corps (MoH)
Period:
Korean War (1950-1953)
Rank:
Second Lieutenant
Unit:
Reconnaissance Company, HQ Battalion, 1st Marine Division "The Old Breed", U.S. Marine Corps
Action:
"for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a Platoon Commander of Reconnaissance Company, Headquarters Battalion, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 23 January 1953. Skillfully leading his patrol deep into hostile territory to attack an enemy-held position from the rear, Second Lieutenant Day immediately proceeded to the head of the unit after contact was established, to control the action more effectively. After killing one hostile soldier and capturing another, he ordered his men to hold their fire until the enemy force had approached to within twenty yards of the patrol's position. Although painfully wounded during the ensuing firefight, he bravely directed the efforts of his men until the hostile force had been eliminated and steadfastly refused medical treatment until his patrol and the prisoner had withdrawn from the area. Throughout the disengagement, he remained with the rear guard to ensure the unit's safe return to the main line of resistance. By his courageous leadership, resolute determination and gallant devotion to duty, Second Lieutenant Day contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and served to inspire all who observed him, thereby upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Silver Star Medal (SSM)
Period:
Korean War (1950-1953)
Rank:
Second Lieutenant
Unit:
Reconnaissance Company, HQ Battalion, 1st Marine Division "The Old Breed", U.S. Marine Corps
Action:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with a Marine reconnaissance company in Korea on 26 October 1952. Leading a patrol of four men in front of the main line of resistance, Colonel (then Second Lieutenant) Day displayed outstanding courage, initiative and devotion to duty. When contact was established with the advance element of a major enemy force his patrol killed ten of the enemy and captured two. Breaking off contact he returned to friendly lines with the two prisoners and continued to fight the enemy force beside the Marines on the front lines. He personally killed two of the enemy with his trench knife and directed the defense of the position after the platoon leader was killed. He continued his heroic defense action until relieved by friendly forces. Colonel Day's gallant and courageous actions served as an inspiration to all who observed him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."
Details:
Gold Star in lieu
Silver Star Medal (SSM)
Period:
Vietnam War (1955-1975)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regimen, 3rd Marine Division "Fighting Third", U.S. Marine Corps
Action:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, 9th Marines, THIRD Marine Division, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. From 2 to 4 March 1967, during Operation PRAIRIE II, Major Day led his battalion on a search and destroy mission west of Cam Lo near the Demilitarized Zone, and consistently demonstrated exceptional courage, aggressiveness and sound judgment while engaged against well organized and heavily armed North Vietnamese Army forces. Late in the afternoon of 2 March, his battalion was moving from Hill 162 toward a nearby hill mass known as the "Three Sisters," when the Marines suddenly came under intense mortar, rocket and automatic weapons fire from an estimated force of two reinforced companies, entrenched in fortified positions. Major Day immediately moved forward to assess the situation and quickly maneuvered two companies into the assault. During the next four hours, in which the enemy was repulsed and overrun in a series of savage actions, Major Day continuously exposed himself to withering enemy fire as he moved from one position to another directing and encouraging the lead companies in their many engagements against a ferocious and determined enemy. Despite numerous casualties and the fact that darkness was approaching, Major Day continued to maneuver his battalion forward in pursuit of the remnants of the enemy force. This action resulted in over 180 enemy killed, eighteen prisoners captured and nearly 200 weapons seized. Realizing that the enemy would attempt to withdraw from the area during the night and escape to the north, Major Day directed his unit into a blocking position, channelizing the enemy's withdrawal into a prearranged killing zone. Subsequent Marine air strikes and artillery fire accounted for an additional forty-four enemy killed. On the morning of 3 March, he received intelligence information that two large enemy forces, estimated at 500 men, were maneuvering northeast to attack an adjacent Marine battalion. Quickly evaluating the situation, Major Day deployed two companies to intercept the enemy forces. His skillful employment of supporting arms and air strikes disorganized the hostile force, enabling the Marines to achieve tactical surprise. During the ensuing fire fight which lasted for almost two hours, his unit killed or captured nearly 100 enemy while sustaining only minor Marine casualties. On 4 March, as the battalion continued its search and destroy mission, it came under an intense 82-mm. mortar attack. One round exploded near Major Day and knocked him into a bomb crater, seriously injuring his back. With complete disregard for his painful injury, he courageously continued to lead his battalion aggressively throughout the day, effectively utilizing supporting arms and ground forces to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy. Only after his battalion was consolidated into night defensive positions, re-supply was accomplished and casualties were evacuated, did he permit himself to be evacuated. By his dynamic leadership, exemplary initiative and selfless devotion to duty, Major Day inspired all who served with him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."
Details:
Second Gold Star in lieu
Silver Star Medal (SSM)
Period:
Vietnam War (1955-1975)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regimen, 3rd Marine Division "Fighting Third", U.S. Marine Corps
Action:
"For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Ninth Marines and subsequently as Assistant Operations Officer, THIRD Marine Division from 19 May 1966 to 1 June 1967, in connection with military operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. Assigned as Executive Officer of the First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Major Day rendered invaluable assistance to the commanding officer in the complex planning and execution of numerous operations against the elusive and stubborn enemy. During this period, he participated in Operations MACON, SWANNEE, LIBERTY, and KY LAM which resulted in 579 enemy confirmed killed, 210 probable killed and 184 weapons confiscated. On 20 July 1966, while commanding Task Group BRAVO during Operation LIBERTY, his units came in contact with a numerically superior enemy force located near Hill 55 in Quang Nam Province. Throughout the operation, he positioned himself with the assault units in order to effectively control and coordinate his men. Although he was wounded, he refused medical evacuation and remained with his battalion until the enemy was routed. On 24 September 1966, he assumed command of the battalion when the battalion commander was critically wounded and evacuated. During Operation DECKHOUSE V, from 4 January to 16 January 1967, Major Day's unit accounted for over 126 enemy confirmed killed, the destruction of a grenade factory and a mine factory and the confiscation of 1,200 mines., 1,600 grenades, 104 weapons and 125 tons of rice. On 25 February 1967, he was wounded a second time while participating in Operation CHINOOK II in Thua Thien Province. In large measure due to his superb leadership and aggressive actions, 55 enemy were confirmed killed and 50 tons of rice were confiscated. During Operation PRAIRIE II in Quang Tri Province, he skillfully led his battalion in accounting for over 425 enemy confirmed killed, 140 probable killed and the capture of eight prisoners. In addition, his unit captured 283 individual weapons, six 82-mm. mortars, two 60-mm. mortars, 81 heavy machine guns, 41 types of crew served weapons and 800 rounds of 82-mm. mortar ammunition. On 28 March 1967, he was reassigned as Assistant Operations Officer of the THIRD Marine Division. In this capacity, he continued to perform with distinction, demonstrating outstanding professional skill and leadership. Through his vast combat experience and intimate knowledge of enemy activities, he displayed exceptional insight, a profound appreciation of tactical requirements and a vast capacity for details. His inspiring leadership and superb organizational abilities were manifested in the smooth and efficient functioning of his section under the stress of numerous combat operations. By his outstanding professionalism, superior skill and unswerving devotion to duty throughout, Major Day upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. (Major Day is authorized to wear the Combat "V".)
Details:
With "Combat V" device
Legion of Merit - US Military
Rank:
Major General
Action:
"For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States."
Distinguished Service Medal - Navy/USMC

Sources

Photo