MajGen James L. Day - MCRD - San Diego, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 32° 44.564 W 117° 11.679
11S E 481764 N 3622783
A Major General when he received his medal, but a Corporal when he performed the heroic acts.
Waymark Code: WM102G9
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 02/12/2019
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member jhuoni
Views: 0

County of painting: San Diego County
Location of memorial: Hochmuth Ave, James L. Day Hall Museum, MCRD
MCRD: Marine Corps Recruit Depot
Artist: Alvin B. Grant

Plaque Text:


On 20 Jan. 1998, MajGen James L. Day received the nation's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions on the Pacific island of Okinawa, 14-17 May 1945

Then Cpl Day, only 19 years old at the time, was a squad leader with 2/22, 6th Marine Division. He pulled together his squad and Marines from another unit and advanced to critical positions beyond the front lines of Sugar Loaf Hill. Despite heavy casualties to more than half his men, he remained at the front directing and returning fire, and throwing hand grenades in the face of the enemy.

On the first day in that isolated hole, Corporal Day and those with him fought off an advance by scores of enemy soldiers. That night he helped to repel three more assaults as those with him fell dead or injured. Braving heavy fire, he escorted four wounded comrades, one by one, to safety. But he would not stay in safety. Instead, he returned to his position to continue the fight. As one of his fellow Marines later reported, the Corporal was everywhere. He would run from one spot to another trying to get more fire on the enemy.

When the next day broke, Corporal Day kept on fighting alone, but for one wounded fellow Marine. Through assault after assault and into his second night, he fought on. Burned by white phosphorous and wounded by shrapnel, he continued to fire his weapon and hold his ground. He hauled ammunition from a disabled vehicle back to his shell hole and fought and fought, one assault after another, one day to the next.

When the smoke finally clear after the 3-day battle, Cpl Day was still standing his ground and more than 100 enemy dead lay around him. Another fellow Medal of Honor recipient, retired Col. Mitchell Page said of him, "He was a great fighting Marine...He was a gentleman and a real fine American Citizen..."

MajGen Day's tours reflect his vast experience. During World War II, he was in the Marshall Islands, on Guam and Okinawa. In the Korean War he served with C Company, 1/2 [1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment] and 1st Reconnaissance Company. He completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, first as Commanding Officer of 1/9.

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. He was reassigned as Commanding Officer, Camp Fuji, Japan, in March 1973.

He was promoted to colonel in November 1973 and was transferred to Philadelphia for duty as Deputy Director, and later, Director, 4th Marine Corps District. He remained in that billet until 1 April 1976, when he was advanced to brigadier general. He assumed duties as Assistant Depot Commander, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, in May 1976, and on 1 November 1977, he became Commanding General of the Depot, serving in that capacity until 11 March 1978.

Major General Day's 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, 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 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, who 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 this 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 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, 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.

Website pertaining to the memorial: [Web Link]

List if there are any visiting hours:
4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday (until 4:30 on Thursdays).
Admission is free, and military identification is not required, although admittance to the Depot requires a photo identification card, driver’s license, and proof of insurance if driving aboard base. Calling the James L. Day Hall Museum would also provide assistance. [(619) 524-6038]

Entrance fees (if it applies): 0

Type of memorial: Plaque

Visit Instructions:

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