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First Name: William

Last Name: Caddy

Birthplace: Quincy, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Robert

Date of Birth: 08 August 1925

Date of Death: 03 March 1945

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1943-1945
William Robert Caddy

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


William Robert Caddy
Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Private First Class William Robert Caddy (8 August 1925 - 3 March 1945) was a U.S. Marine who was posthumously awarded his Nation's highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor. He was the 72nd Marine of World War II to receive this honor.

William Robert Caddy was born on 8 August 1925 in Quincy, MA, and attended the schools of Quincy until high school. During high school he was selected to the school's varsity baseball team but he left school after his second year. He worked as a helper on a milkman's truck for a while and gave most of his $25 a week pay to his mother.

Caddy was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps through the Selective Service system on 27 October 1943 and was put on inactive duty until 10 November 1943 when he was ordered to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, for recruit training. While attending recruit training, Caddy received training on several weapons in use at the time including the Reising sub-machine gun, Browning automatic rifle, M-1 carbine, bayonet and the hand grenade. When it came time to qualify with the service rifle, he fired a score of 305 which qualified him as a sharpshooter.

Following his ten-day recruit furlough, PFC Caddy reported into the Special Weapons Group, Base Artillery Battalion at Camp Lejeune, NC, for instruction in the twenty millimeter anti-aircraft gun. Upon the successful completion of the course, in which his rating was "good," Caddy was assigned to a rifle company in the new 5th Marine Division which was then forming. His unit was Company I, 3rd Battalion, 28th Marines. After extensive training in North Carolina, the new division shipped overland to San Diego where, on 22 July 1944, PFC Caddy headed overseas to the Pacific Theatre on the USS Arthur Middleton (APA-25). He participated in further training at Hilo, HI, where the 5th Division encamped for five months. On 5 January 1945, rifleman Caddy boarded an attack transport, the USS Darke for the island of Iwo Jima.

Landing against the fierce opposition which had characterized the Japanese since Guadalcanal, PFC Caddy went through the fighting on Iwo Jima for 12 days. On 3 March 1945, he, along with his platoon leader and his acting platoon sergeant, were advancing against shattering Japanese machine gun and small arms fire in an isolated sector. Seeking temporary refuge from the assault, the three Marines dropped into a shell hole where they were immediately pinned down by a well-concealed enemy sniper. After several unsuccessful attempts to advance further, the 19 year-old Marine and his lieutenant engaged in a furious hand grenade battle with the defending Japanese. When an enemy grenade landed in their hole, PFC Caddy immediately covered it with his body and absorbed the deadly blast and fragments.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 3 March 1945.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with Company 1, 3d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 3 March 1945. Consistently aggressive, Pfc. Caddy boldly defied shattering Japanese machinegun and small arms fire to move forward with his platoon leader and another marine during the determined advance of his company through an isolated sector and, gaining the comparative safety of a shell hole, took temporary cover with his comrades. Immediately pinned down by deadly sniper fire from a well-concealed position, he made several unsuccessful attempts to again move forward and then, joined by his platoon leader, engaged the enemy in a fierce exchange of hand grenades until a Japanese grenade fell beyond reach in the shell hole. Fearlessly disregarding all personal danger, Pfc. Caddy instantly dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and protecting the others from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, he unhesitatingly yielded his own life that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His dauntless courage and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. Caddy and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.

The Medal of Honor was presented to his mother at ceremonies on the Montclair School lawn (which the Marine had formerly attended) on 8 September 1946 by Rear Admiral Morton L. Deyo, Commandant of the First Naval District. Among those present were the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, the Mayor of Quincy, and the United States Congressman from that district.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Death and Burial

Private First Class William Robert Caddy was killed in action on 3 March 1945. He was initially buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima and was later re-interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, HI, in 1948. His grave can be found in Section C, Grave 81.

Honoree ID: 1317   Created by: MHOH




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