January 1, 1921|
|Died||May 25, 2006
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1942-1945|
|Rank||Technician Fourth Grade|
|Unit||B Company, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division|
|Battles/wars||Guadalcanal, Northern Solomons, Philippines|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross|
Harvey Possinger was the second most highly decorated US veteran of World War II. He received every medal for valor in combat except for the Medal of Honor which was promised to him by General Douglas MacArthur. However, his paperwork was lost and he never received the medal.
Drafted in April 1942, he was able to skip basic training due to civilian military training and left the Continental United States in May. Possinger was assigned to B Company, 35th Infantry Regiment, of the 25th Infantry Division.
The 25th Infantry was called into Guadalcanal to relieve the 1st Marine Division in November. Possinger, along with the rest of his unit, arrived at Guadalcanal on December 17, 1942. After weeks of heavy fighting, the island was secure. This was the first major victory for American forces and the first piece of real estate the U.S. took back from Japan.
The next mission for the 35th Infantry (dubbed “The Cacti”) was to seize and secure the island of Vella Lavella in the Northern Solomons. They made their assault on the island on August 15, 1943 and had it secure by September 18 of the same year. Possinger was wounded three times on Vella Lavalla and was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic actions throughout the campaign in the Northern Solomons.
Next up was the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Possinger was hit in the left arm and on March 8, 1945 he was wounded for the fifth and final time; this time he took a bullet to the chest at Belete Pass. He was hit trying to save his buddies who were ambushed. They sent Possinger home after that, saying it was because he was to receive the Medal of Honor.
Awards and decorations
Distinguished Service Cross Citation
|“||For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 25th Infantry Division on 8 March 1945, in the Philippine Islands. Serving as a litter bearer section leader, Technician Fifth Grade Possinger led an eight man squad to rescue six infantrymen who had been ambushed and wounded along a trail on a high ridge. After reaching the men, he was seriously wounded with a bullet in the chest. He immediately dressed his injury and then administered first aid to the other soldiers for 30 minutes while under heavy machine gun fire. He then led his men and the wounded soldiers down a steep ridge to safety.||”|