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First Name: Everette

Last Name: Pope

Birthplace: Milton, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Parker

Date of Birth: 16 July 1919

Date of Death: 16 July 2009

Rank: Major

Years Served: 1941-1951
Everett Parker Pope

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Everett Parker Pope

Major, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Major Everett Parker Pope (16 July 1919 - 16 July 2009) was a U.S. Marine Corps officer who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions on Peleliu during World War II.

Everett Parker Pope was born on 16 July 1919 in Milton, MA, the son of Laurence Everett and Ruth Parker Pope. He later moved to North Quincy, where he graduated from North Quincy High School in 1936. He attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, and excelled in both academics and athletics. He was the captain of the state-champion tennis team and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Shortly after graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in French in June 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

After basic training, Pope attended Officer Candidate School and, on 1 November 1941, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. He trained at Quantico, VA, and New River, NC, prior to going overseas in June 1942 with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. On 7 August 1942, as the leader of a machine gun platoon, he participated in the landing and action at Guadalcanal.

In 1943 he was transferred to Melbourne, Australia, with his unit. Later, he again went into combat, as a Company Commander with the 1st Marine Regiment, in the Cape Gloucester, New Britain campaign, from December 1943 to April 1944. In the mopping-up operations which followed, he led a 14-man patrol that in one day killed 20 and captured seven of the enemy during a 12-mile trek over jungle trails.

On 20 September 1944, Captain Pope and his company set out to storm Hill 154, a steep, barren, coral hill protruding from the face of Suicide Ridge, according to a field dispatch from TSgt Joseph L. Alli of Buffalo, NY, a Marine Corps Combat Correspondent. From almost point-blank range, Japanese mortars and field guns opened up on them from adjoining peaks on Suicide Ridge. Pope and his men took Hill 154 at dusk after hours of bloody fighting which nearly annihilated the group.

Forced to deploy his men thinly, he nevertheless determined to hold his ground for the night. Immediately after darkness fell, the Japanese started to attack, first in small infiltrating bands, and, when these units failed, in groups of 20 to 25 who tried storming the hill. Each time, the Marines opened fire with everything they had - one light machine gun, several Tommy guns and rifles, and a limited supply of hand grenades. When the grenades ran low, they hurled rocks. "We would throw three or four rocks, then a grenade. The Japanese didn't know which were which," one Marine said. By sunrise the Marines were beating off the enemy with bare fists and hurling ammunition boxes at them. Finally only eight riflemen remained. When daylight brought deadly fire, Pope was ordered to withdraw. Although wounded in action on 20 September, he returned to duty the next day, and remained overseas until November 1944.

For these actions, Pope was formally presented with the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman during a ceremony in 1945. It was Truman's first Medal of Honor presentation, and he told Pope that "he would rather have the medal than be president." [According to reports from other recipients of the MOH, Truman used this phrase quite often when presenting the Medal.]

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division.

Place and date: Peleliu Island, Palau group, 19-20 September 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as commanding officer of Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu Island, Palau group, on 19-20 September 1944. Subjected to pointblank cannon fire which caused heavy casualties and badly disorganized his company while assaulting a steep coral hill, Capt. Pope rallied his men and gallantly led them to the summit in the face of machinegun, mortar, and sniper fire. Forced by widespread hostile attack to deploy the remnants of his company thinly in order to hold the ground won, and with his machineguns out of order and insufficient water and ammunition, he remained on the exposed hill with 12 men and 1 wounded officer determined to hold through the night. Attacked continuously with grenades, machineguns, and rifles from 3 sides, he and his valiant men fiercely beat back or destroyed the enemy, resorting to hand-to-hand combat as the supply of ammunition dwindled, and still maintaining his lines with his 8 remaining riflemen when daylight brought more deadly fire and he was ordered to withdraw. His valiant leadership against devastating odds while protecting the units below from heavy Japanese attack reflects the highest credit upon Capt. Pope and the U.S. Naval Service.

Pope was promoted to Major in January 1945 and assigned for one year as a student in the Japanese language course at Yale University. On 16 July 1946, he was assigned to inactive duty status in the Marine Corps and returned to his home and private employment in Massachusetts. There he became affiliated with the Marine Corps Reserve and commanded the 2nd Infantry Battalion, USMCR in Hingham, MA, until August 1950, when he was called to active duty with his battalion upon the outbreak of the Korean War. He served as Executive Officer of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, until September 1951, when he was released to inactive duty and, shortly thereafter, resigned his commission in the Marine Corps.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device
Purple Heart

Post-Military Life

After his military service, Pope began a career as a banker. He was president of the Workmen's Co-operative Bank in Boston, MA, for more than 25 years beginning in 1953. At the start of his tenure, he was the youngest bank president in New England at age 34. He worked in savings and loans and supported the federal student loan program, serving in 1982 as the first Chairman of the Board of Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation. After retiring in 1983, he returned to Brunswick, ME, and lived near his alma mater, Bowdoin College.

He was active on Bowdoin's governing boards for 27 years, from 1961 to 1988, serving as president of the board of overseers and chair of the board of trustees. He established the Pope Scholarship Fund in the 1980s and, with other Bowdoin alumni, established the Haldane Cup, an award presented to a senior who demonstrates the leadership and character of Marine Corps Captain Andrew Haldane. Haldane, who was killed in the Battle of Peleliu, was the captain of the 1940 Bowdoin football team and a classmate of Pope. In 1987, the school awarded Pope an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Personal Life

In about 1942, Pope married his high school sweetheart, Eleanor Hawkins. The couple had two sons, Laurence E. and Ralph H. Pope. Laurence later served as the U.S. Ambassador to Chad.

Pope and his wife Eleanor lived on Amelia Island in Florida and on Great Pond in Belgrade Lakes, ME, before failing health spurred them to return to the mid-coast area of Maine to be nearer their sons. The couple entered the Hill House assisted-living facility in Bath in September 2008. Eleanor died there in January 2009 and Pope died six months later, on the morning of his 90th birthday.

Death and Burial

Major Everett Parker Pope died on the morning of 16 July 2009, his 90th birthday. Everett and Eleanor (who died in January 2009) were cremated and, on 15 September 2009, buried together at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 59, Site 3800.

Honoree ID: 1603   Created by: MHOH




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