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First Name: Mitchell

Last Name: Paige

Birthplace: Charleroi, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Baltimore, MD

Date of Birth: 31 August 1918

Date of Death: 15 November 2003

Rank: Colonel

Years Served: 1936-1959
Mitchell Paige

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Mitchell Paige

Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Colonel Mitchell Paige (31 August 1918 - 15 November 2003) was a U.S. Marine Corps officer who was a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Mitchell Paige was born on 31 August 1918 in Charleroi, PA. His parents were Serb immigrants who arrived in the U.S. from the Military Frontier of Croatia, their last name being Pejić. His mother kept him and his brother in touch with their roots, reminding them of the Battle of Kosovo, but also told them to be proud Americans.

On 26 October 1942, he was serving as a Platoon Sergeant in the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. That day, he held his line against advancing Japanese forces even after all of his comrades had been killed or wounded. After reinforcements arrived, Paige led a counterattack against the Japanese, which successfully repelled the enemy forces and held the American line. For his actions he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

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

Place and date: Solomon Islands, 26 October 1942.

Citation: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a company of marines in combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on 26 October 1942. When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machinegun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire against the advancing hordes until reinforcements finally arrived. Then, forming a new line, he dauntlessly and aggressively led a bayonet charge, driving the enemy back and preventing a breakthrough in our lines. His great personal valor and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

While on Guadalcanal he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the field on 19 December 1942.

General Alexander Vandegrift presented Paige with the Medal of Honor in a special ceremony in Balcombe, Australia, on 21 May 1943 for his actions.

Paige later served in the Korean War. He retired in 1959 with the rank of Colonel.

In retirement, Paige wrote a book about his experiences titled, A Marine Named Mitch (published in 1975). In his later years, he served to ferret out imposters wearing or selling the Medal of Honor.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Presidential Unit Citation
Good Conduct Medal
China Service Medal
American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
American Campaign Medal
Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon
United Nations Service Medal


• Paige was awarded the Eagle Scout award by the Boy Scouts of America on 24 March 2003; which he had earned in 1936, his last year in high school, but had never been presented because he had left home to join the Marine Corps. He is one of seven known Eagle Scouts who have received the Medal of Honor. Paige is also a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

• Paige served as the model for a G.I. Joe action figure. His was the Marine Corps figure in a series honoring Medal of Honor recipients from each branch of the U.S. military.

• On 2 May 2006, the Desert Sands Unified School District honored Paige by naming its newest school the Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School. The school opened in the fall of 2006 in La Quinta, CA.

• A museum at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base is dedicated to him.

• The Eldred World War II Museum in Eldred, PA, holds an exhibit dedicated to him, named "Mitchell Paige Hall." Paige donated his entire collection of military memorabilia to the Eldred facility, including his Medal of Honor.

Death and Burial

Colonel Mitchell Paige died on 15 November 2003, of congestive heart failure at his home in La Quinta, CA, at the age of 85. He was the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient of the Guadalcanal campaign. He was buried with full military honors at the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA.

Honoree ID: 1586   Created by: MHOH




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