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First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Julian

Birthplace: Sturbridge, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Rudolph

Date of Birth: 03 April 1918

Date of Death: 09 March 1945

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 1942 - 1945
Joseph Rudolph Julian

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Joseph Rudolph Julian
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Staff Sergeant Joseph Rudolph Julian (3 April 1918 - 9 March 1945) was a U.S. Marine who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroism and sacrifice of life in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Joseph Rudolph Julian was born on 3 April 1918 in Sturbridge, MA. He graduated from high school in Southbridge, MA, and in January 1942, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

Following basic training at Parris Island, SC, he became a Drill Instructor, and was later assigned to the 5th Marine Division. He was killed in action on Iwo Jima on 9 March 1945 following a one-man assault on enemy-occupied trenches and fortified positions. The Medal of Honor was awarded him posthumously for his heroism.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Platoon / Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 9 March 1945.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a P/Sgt. serving with the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 9 March 1945. Determined to force a breakthrough when Japanese troops occupying trenches and fortified positions on the left front laid down a terrific machinegun and mortar barrage in a desperate effort to halt his company's advance, P/Sgt. Julian quickly established his platoon's guns in strategic supporting positions, and then, acting on his own initiative, fearlessly moved forward to execute a 1-man assault on the nearest pillbox. Advancing alone, he hurled deadly demolition and white phosphorus grenades into the emplacement, killing 2 of the enemy and driving the remaining 5 out into the adjoining trench system. Seizing a discarded rifle, he jumped into the trench and dispatched the 5 before they could make an escape. Intent on wiping out all resistance, he obtained more explosives and, accompanied by another marine, again charged the hostile fortifications and knocked out 2 more cave positions. Immediately thereafter, he launched a bazooka attack unassisted, firing 4 rounds into the 1 remaining pillbox and completely destroying it before he fell, mortally wounded by a vicious burst of enemy fire. Stouthearted and indomitable, P/Sgt. Julian consistently disregarded all personal danger and, by his bold decision, daring tactics, and relentless fighting spirit during a critical phase of the battle, contributed materially to the continued advance of his company and to the success of his division's operations in the sustained drive toward the conquest of this fiercely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. His outstanding valor and unfaltering spirit of self-sacrifice throughout the bitter conflict sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

The Medal of Honor and citation were presented to his parents by the Secretary of the Navy on 15 November 1945.

Death and Burial

Platoon Sergeant Joseph Rudolph Julian was killed on 9 March 1945. Following the war, Sgt Julian's remains were returned to the U.S. and re-interred at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York, at the request of his parents.

Honoree ID: 1463   Created by: MHOH




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