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First Name: Harold

Last Name: Epperson

Birthplace: Akron, OH, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: OH
Middle Name: Glenn

Date of Birth: 14 July 1923

Date of Death: 25 June 1944

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1942-1944
Harold Glenn Epperson

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Harold Glenn Epperson
Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Private First Class Harold Glenn Epperson (14 July 1923 - 25 June 1944) was a U.S. Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest military award for valor, for his actions during the World War II.

Harold Glenn Epperson was born on 14 July 1923 in Akron, OH. Epperson grew up in Massillon, OH, and graduated from Washington High School there in 1941. He was employed at Goodyear Aircraft in Akron before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on 12 December 1942.

PFC Epperson died in action against the Japanese on Saipan on 25 June 1944 when he threw himself upon an enemy grenade in order to save the lives of his fellow Marines. For his heroic self-sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

As a member of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division, he also shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded his organization for its service at the Battle of Tarawa.

Medal of Honor

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

Place and date: Island of Saipan, Marianas, 25 June 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, 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Island of Saipan in the Marianas, on 25 June 1944. With his machinegun emplacement bearing the full brunt of a fanatic assault initiated by the Japanese under cover of predawn darkness, Pfc. Epperson manned his weapon with determined aggressiveness, fighting furiously in the defense of his battalion's position and maintaining a steady stream of devastating fire against rapidly infiltrating hostile troops to aid materially in annihilating several of the enemy and in breaking the abortive attack. Suddenly a Japanese soldier, assumed to be dead, sprang up and hurled a powerful hand grenade into the emplacement. Determined to save his comrades, Pfc. Epperson unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and, diving upon the deadly missile, absorbed the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body. Stouthearted and indomitable in the face of certain death, Pfc. Epperson fearlessly yielded his own life that his able comrades might carry on the relentless battle against a ruthless enemy. His superb valor and unfaltering devotion to duty throughout reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Epperson's Medal of Honor was presented to his mother in a ceremony on Wednesday, 4 July 1945 in Tiger Stadium at Massillon, OH, with the Massillon High School Band and 8,500 of the people of the town where Epperson grew up. The Medal was presented by Col. Norman E. True, district Marine officer of the 9th Naval District and commanding officer of the Marine Barracks at Great Lakes, IL. Epperson's parents, who moved to Mt. Sterling, KY, following their son's death, returned to Massillon for the ceremonies because they felt their son "would have liked it that way." The citation signed by President Harry S. Truman, and a letter from Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, Commandant of the Marine Corps, were read by Col. True during the ceremony.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Presidential Unit Citation


The USS Epperson (DD-719), a destroyer named in honor of Harold Glenn Epperson, was launched on 23 December 1945, in Port Newark, NJ.

Death and Burial

Private First Class Harold Glenn Epperson was killed in action on 25 June 1944. Initially buried in the 2nd Marine Division Cemetery on Saipan, Marianas Islands, his remains were re-interred at Winchester Cemetery in Winchester, KY, in 1948. His grave can be located at Section H, Lot 202.

Honoree ID: 1379   Created by: MHOH




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