Elbert L. Kinser

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Elbert Luther Kinser
Kinser EL.jpg  A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
Elbert L. Kinser, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1922-10-21)October 21, 1922
Greeneville, Tennessee
Died May 4, 1945(1945-05-04) (aged 22)
KIA on Okinawa
Place of burial initially the 1st Marine Division Cemetery on Okinawa
later Solomon Lutheran Cemetery Greeneville, Tennessee
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1942-1945
Rank Sergeant
Unit 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Okinawa
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Sergeant Elbert Luther Kinser (October 21, 1922 - May 4, 1945) was a United States Marine who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions and sacrifice of his life on Okinawa during World War II. The Medal of Honor was presented to Sgt Kinser's parents by MajGen Clifton B. Cates (future Commandant of the Marine Corps) on July 4, 1946 in Greeneville, Tennessee.

Early years[edit]

Elbert Kinser was born in Greeneville, Tennessee on October 21, 1922. He worked on his father's farm prior to joining the Marine Corps.

Marine Corps service[edit]

Kinser enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in December 1942 and received his recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.

He sailed from the United States in March 1943, and joined the 7th Replacement Battalion in Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samoa. Later, that battalion joined the 1st Marine Division in Melbourne, Australia, and Sgt Kinser was assigned to Company I, 1st Marines.

Action with the 1st Marines followed at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, and later at Peleliu, Palau Islands.

On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, Sgt Kinser landed with his unit at Okinawa. Sergeant Kinser won the nation's highest military decoration while acting as a leader of a rifle platoon, serving with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, in action on Okinawa, where he was subsequently killed in action on May 4, 1945.

During a fierce hand grenade battle, a Japanese grenade landed in the immediate vicinity, Sgt Kinser unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the full charge of the shattering explosion in his own body and thereby protecting his men from serious injury and possible death.

Sergeant Kinser was buried in the 1st Marine Division Cemetery on Okinawa and his remains were returned to the United States in early 1949 for burial. His final resting place is the Solomon Lutheran Cemetery in Greeneville, Tennessee.[1]

Camp Kinser, a Marine Corps installation at Urasoe, Okinawa, Japan, was named in honor of Sergeant Elbert L. Kinser.

Decorations[edit]

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Sgt Kinser was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart; Presidential Unit Citation; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars 
Medal of Honor Purple Heart
Presidential Unit Citation Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

SERGEANT ELBERT L. KINSER
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while acting as Leader of a Rifle Platoon, serving with Company I, Third Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, in action against Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryūkyū Chain, May 4, 1945. Taken under sudden, close attack by hostile troops entrenched on the reverse slope while moving up a strategic ridge along which his platoon was holding newly won positions, Sergeant Kinser engaged the enemy in a fierce hand grenade battle. Quick to act when a Japanese grenade landed in the immediate vicinity, Sergeant Kinser unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the full charge of the shattering explosion in his own body and thereby protecting his men from serious injury and possible death. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had yielded his own chance of survival that his comrades might live to carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His courage, cool decision and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

/S/ HARRY S. TRUMAN

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Inline
  1. ^ "Solomon Lutheran Cemetery". The Tombstone Transcription Project. 
General
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.