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First Name: Harry

Last Name: Radford

Birthplace: Jasper, Jasper, MO, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Morton

Date of Birth: 31 January 1920

Date of Death: 05 June 1943 (Presumed)

MIA Date: 04 June 1942

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1940-1943

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Harry Morton "Morty" was the son of Hershel Martin Radford and Pearl Pauline Strecker who married on 27 Nov 1910 in Carthage, Jasper, MO. His sibling was Naomi Millicent Radford.

Harry was born in Jasper county, Missouri on 31 Jan 1920. Known as Morton to his classmates, Harry graduated from Carthage High School in Carthage, Jasper, MO. in June 1938. He enlisted as a Private in the US Marine Corps on 12 Sep 1940 at the Central Recruiting Division, Kansas City, MO. The same day he was sent to the Recruit Depot, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, CA. On 15 Sept, he arrived in San Diego and was assigned to the Third Recruit Battalion and commenced basic training. On 01 Nov 1940, PVT Radford qualified as a sharpshooter. Pvt Radford completed basic training by 9 Nov 1940 when he transferred to the 2d Marine Air Group, FMF in San Diego. Several weeks later on 30 Nov, he was temporarily assigned to the 2nd Signal Detachment in San Diego under instruction as a student at Radio School. He completed the Radio School training on 06 Jan 1941 and returned to VMS-2, Second Marine Aircraft Group at Naval Air Station (NAS), San Diego. Sometime between May and June 1941 Private Radford was assigned to Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron-231 (VSMB-231), 2d Marine Aircraft Group, 2nd Marine Division at Ewa, Oahu, T.H.

On 7 Jan 1942, now Private First Class (PFC) Radford embarked on the seaplane tender USS Thornton (AVD-11) with other members of his squadron enroute from Pearl Harbor to Midway Island. Thorton arrived at Midway about 12 Jan 1942 and disembarked her cargo and passenger. PFC Radford was assigned to Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron Two Hundred Forty One (VMSB-241), MAG 22, 2d MarAirWing stationed at Midway Island shortly after his arrival. It was during April 1942 that Radford was paired with his pilot, Second Lieutenant Maurice Ward who was also born in Missouri. After practicing with the Vought SB2U Vindicator dive bomber into Mid-May, Lt Ward and PFC Radford were presented with the opportunity to fly the newer Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless dive bomber. They didn't have much time to acclimate to a different airplane because several weeks later on 04 Jun 1942 the enemy appeared. Early on that morning Lt Ward and his rear seat gunner/radioman, PFC Harry Radford, sped down the runway and into the twilight before dawn from NAS Midway along with other elements of their squadron to find and attack the Japanese Striking Force. As their group, led by Major Lofton Henderson, spotted the enemy force, Japanese fighters swarmed the American force. In short order, Lt Ward's Dauntless was falling in flames. Their remains were unrecoverable. They were declared missing in action on 4 Jun 1942. His mother was notified via telegram from the Navy Department on 14 June 1942 that her son was missing in the service of his country. He was presumed dead on 5 Jun 1943.

PFC Radford was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation w/ribbon, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze battle star, and the World War II Victory Medal.


The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Harry Morton Radford, Private First Class, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Radioman-Gunner in Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron TWO HUNDRED FORTY-ONE, during the Battle of Midway, 4 and 5 June 1945. In a determined attack against the invading Japanese Fleet, Private Radford, serving as rear-seat free machine-gunner, maintained fire in the face of overwhelming enemy fighter opposition and fierce anti-aircraft barrage. Because of circumstances attendant upon this engagement, there can be little doubt that he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 311 (February 1943)


Marine Air Group 22 Presidential Unit Citation:

"For conspicuous courage and heroism in combat at Midway Island during June 1942. Outnumbered five to one, Marine Aircraft Group 22 boldly intercepted a heavily escorted enemy bombing force, disrupting their attack and preventing serious damage to island installations. Operating with half of their dive-bomber's obsolete and in poor mechanical conditions, which necessitated vulnerable glide bombing tactics, they succeeded in inflicting heavy damage on Japanese surface units of a large enemy task force. The skill and gallant perseverance of flight and ground personnel of Marine Aircraft Group 22, fighting under tremendously adverse and dangerous conditions were essential factors in the unyielding defense of Midway."


Distinguished Flying Cross Awarded to Carthage Youth, Missing in Action

Carthage, Mo., Dec. 11, -- Harry M. Radford of Carthage, private first class, U.S. marine corps, reported as missing in action in the battle of Midway last June, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Roosevelt “For extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight as a radioman-gunner in marine scout-bombing squadron in action against enemy Japanese forces during the battle of Midway, June 4 and 5, 1942.” News of the award came to his mother, Mrs. Henry Johns of Carthage, in a letter today from Colonel John Dixon of the U.S. marine corps. The citation continues: “In a determined attack against the invading Japanese fleet, Private First Class Radford, serving as rear seat machine gunner, maintained fire in the face of overwhelming enemy fighter opposition and fierce anti-aircraft barrage His (sic) courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States naval service.” The letter from Colonel Dixon advises that the “decoration and citation will be held in this office for Private First Class Radford.” However, it is not considered there is any possibility he survived, but that he was lost with his plane. Mrs. Johns was notified by telegram June 14 that her son was missing in action. The citation today was the first word she had received as to what duty her son had been assigned, although she knew he was a radioman. Radford was 22 years old. He was born near Jasper January 31, 1920. He enlisted with the marines September 11, 1940.


PFC Radford's family received a commemoration from President Roosevelt. It reads:

In grateful memory of Harry M. Radford, United States Marine Corps, who died in the service of his country at Midway Islands, 5 June 1943 (Presumed). He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives – in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

(signed), Franklin D Roosevelt

President of the United States of America


Combat Action Ribbon (CR) note:

None of the Navy/Marine flight crews in the Battle of Midway were eligible for or were awarded the Combat Action Ribbon (CR). See Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual (SECNAVINST M-1650.1 of 16 Aug 2019, Appendix 2C.1.c (3) Amplifying Guidance). It reads in part, “The CR will not be awarded in connection with aerial flight, . . . “ The CR was established in 1969 and made retroactive to 07 Dec 1941. According to the Awards Manual, when deemed appropriate, the award for aerial combat was/is the Air Medal.


[Bio #223 composed by Gerry Lawton (GML470)]

Find A Grave Memorial Page #126152134

Honoree ID: 100280   Created by: MHOH




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