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First Name: Leonard

Last Name: Mason

Birthplace: Middlesboro, KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Foster

Date of Birth: 22 February 1920

Date of Death: 22 July 1944

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1943 - 1944
Leonard Foster Mason

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Leonard Foster Mason

Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Private First Class Leonard Foster Mason (22 February 1920 - 22 July 1944) was a U.S. Marine who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for heroism during the Battle of Guam in World War II.

Leonard Foster Mason was born on 22 February 1920 in Middlesboro, KY. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1943 and was promoted to Private First Class in March 1944.

During the landing on Guam on 22 July 1944, two enemy machine guns opened fire on Mason's platoon. Acting on his own initiative, Mason cleared out the hostile position. His heroic act in the face of almost certain death enabled his platoon to accomplish its mission. Mason died of his wounds the following day aboard a hospital ship offshore. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Medal of Honor

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

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as an automatic rifleman serving with the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Asan-Adelup Beachhead, Guam, Marianas Islands on 22 July 1944. Suddenly taken under fire by 2 enemy machineguns not more than 15 yards away while clearing out hostile positions holding up the advance of his platoon through a narrow gully, Pfc. Mason, alone and entirely on his own initiative, climbed out of the gully and moved parallel to it toward the rear of the enemy position. Although fired upon immediately by hostile riflemen from a higher position and wounded repeatedly in the arm and shoulder, Pfc. Mason grimly pressed forward and had just reached his objective when hit again by a burst of enemy machinegun fire, causing a critical wound to which he later succumbed. With valiant disregard for his own peril, he persevered, clearing out the hostile position, killing 5 Japanese, wounding another and then rejoining his platoon to report the results of his action before consenting to be evacuated. His exceptionally heroic act in the face of almost certain death enabled his platoon to accomplish its mission and reflects the highest credit upon Pfc. Mason and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal presented Mason's Medal of Honor to his mother in 1945.


In 1946, the destroyer USS Leonard F. Mason (DD-852) was named in his honor.

Death and Burial

Private First Class Leonard Foster Mason died on 22 July 1944 as a result of wounds received in action that day. He was buried at sea. His name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI.

Honoree ID: 1514   Created by: MHOH




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