Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Lewis

Last Name: Bausell

Birthplace: Pulaski, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Washington, DC
Middle Name: Kenneth

Date of Birth: 17 April 1924

Date of Death: 18 September 1944

Rank: Corporal

Years Served: 1941-1944
Lewis Kenneth Bausell

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Lewis Kenneth Bausell
Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Corporal Lewis Kenneth Bausell (17 April 1924 - 18 September 1944) was a U.S. Marine who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II. In combat at Peleliu, he covered an exploding Japanese hand grenade in order to protect his comrades, and died of his wounds three days later. Bausell was the only enlisted Marine from Washington, DC, to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during World War II.

Lewis Kenneth Bausell was born on 17 April 1924 in Pulaski, VA. Moving to Washington, DC, he attended the local public schools and then went to work as a bookbinder for Ransdell, Incorporated, a Washington printer. He was employed there at the time of the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

On 15 December, following the Pearl Harbor attack, Bausell enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years. After training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, he joined the 1st Marine Division in New River, NC. Bausell was promoted to Private First Class on 25 March 1942 and to Corporal on 1 June 1942. On 20 May 1942, the 5th Marines sailed for the Pacific arriving at Wellington, New Zealand, on 20 June. The marines immediately began preparations for landing in the Solomon Islands.

Corporal Bausell took part in the initial landings on Guadalcanal and fought there for four months before going southward to Melbourne, Australia. In the spring of the next year he sailed for New Guinea.

Serving with the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Cpl. Bausell prepared for the next campaign, in New Guinea and then made the Cape Gloucester, New Britain, landing three days after the original invasion in December 1943. With that campaign concluded, the division returned to the Solomon Islands and went to Pavuvu Island for rest, rehabilitation, and preparation for another campaign.

The Peleliu landing took place on 15 September 1944 and the 5th Marines were the left flank regiment on the division front. In the first hour of action, the assault waves fought their way 100 yards inland to the top of a small coral ridge, one of dozens on the island. Cpl. Bausell, who one month earlier had been examined and found qualified for promotion to the rank of Sergeant, was in a squad assigned to clean out one of the many enemy-infested caves that honeycombed the ridge.

On one side of the cave, a Marine second lieutenant and several of his men were using a flame thrower to force the enemy out through the other side where Cpl. Bausell and several others waited with rifles ready. Two men stood at the entrance, firing into the cave. A Japanese soldier charged out holding a grenade against his body and lunged toward the little band of Marines. The grenade exploded injuring several Marines and killing the attacker.

Another enemy soldier came to the entrance and was shot. Then a third appeared and threw a grenade into the group. Cpl. Bausell heroically threw himself on the grenade to save the lives of his fellow Marines.

Evacuated to a hospital ship, the 20-year old Bausell survived for three days before dying of his wounds on 18 September. He was buried at sea.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps.

Place and date: Peleliu Island, Palau Group, 15 September 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu Island, Palau Group, 15 September 1944. Valiantly placing himself at the head of his squad, Cpl. Bausell led the charge forward against a hostile pillbox which was covering a vital sector of the beach and, as the first to reach the emplacement, immediately started firing his automatic into the aperture while the remainder of his men closed in on the enemy. Swift to act, as a Japanese grenade was hurled into their midst, Cpl. Bausell threw himself on the deadly weapon, taking the full blast of the explosion and sacrificing his own life to save his men. His unwavering loyalty and inspiring courage reflect the highest credit upon Cpl. Bausell and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

The Medal of Honor, posthumously awarded the Marine by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was presented to his mother and father in the Navy Department in Washington, DC, by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal on 11 June 1945. General Alexander A. Vandegrift, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, was present for the ceremony, as were Bausell's two sisters and his sister-in-law.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Presidential Unit Citation
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal


On 19 November 1945 in Bath, Maine, a new Gearing-class destroyer, the USSĀ Bausell, was christened by Cpl. Bausell's mother. The destroyer served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Death and Burial

Corporal Lewis Kenneth Bausell was killed in action on 18 September 1944. He was buried at sea.

Bausell's name is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Manila City, Philippines.

Honoree ID: 1282   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image