A Marine And His Pistol

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

Marine Corps Times:

A young Marine lieutenant killed 51 years ago while holding off an enemy ambush was awarded a long overdue Silver Star for battlefield heroics at a ceremony held Tuesday.

First Lt. Philip H. Sauer, a native of Coronado, California, was posthumously awarded the third highest U.S. valor award after sacrificing his life while holding off an enemy ambush with his .45-caliber pistol, allowing his five-man squad to withdraw to safety.

[ … ]

Sauer ordered his men to withdraw while he laid down cover fire “with only his personal sidearm,” according to the citation. “He was last seen holding his position in the face of overwhelming enemy fire.”

Smith, the officer presiding over the ceremony, described the day as a historic one for the Corps.

“Fifty-one years ago today a lieutenant named Phil Sauer gave his life so that other Marines might keep theirs,” Smith said during the ceremony.

“Armed with a .45 caliber pistol [Sauer] stood his ground against somewhere north of 30 enemy armed with automatic weapons,” Smith told a crowd gathered.

Smith said it was Sauer’s job as the senior Marine that day to take care of his men, and that “he did it with unbelievable courage.”

I do love the .45 ACP round so much, and with John Basilone, there is no shortage of Marines who had to fight with their pistol, and did so very well.

He gave his life in the service of his men.  I wonder why not a CMH?  It can be awarded posthumously.


Comments

  1. On May 16, 2018 at 4:57 am, Mark said:

    The MOH “CAN” be awarded posthumously? It is NORMAL for it to be so awarded.

  2. On May 16, 2018 at 9:42 am, Herschel Smith said:

    They did for Michael Monsoor.

  3. On May 16, 2018 at 5:14 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Mark

    Re: “The MOH “CAN” be awarded posthumously? It is NORMAL for it to be so awarded.”

    In recent years, the majority of Medal of Honor recipients have been deceased, but it hasn’t always be so. During the WWI-WWII-Korean War era, plus some of Vietnam as well, there were plenty of living recipients of the honor.

    The criteria for being selected to receive the award are so steep that recipients are often deceased, having been killed in action or later dying of their wounds, but there are a few tough men who survive to have that blue ribbon and attached medal hung around their necks. Audie Murphy being one famous example from the Second World War, John Basilone being another.

    Murphy survived the war and lived to 1971, dying in a plane crash. Basilone survived the fierce fighting at Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal, and did several war bond tours back in the States before requesting reassignment with his fellow Marines. He died leading his men off the beachhead at Iwo Jima in fierce combat, an action which won him a posthumous Navy Cross.

    It would have better when Major Richard Winters and his men of E Company, 506 PIR, 101st A/B Division, were still alive to enjoy the honor, but President Trump could correct a historical mistake which is long overdue for resolution. Major Winters, then First Lieutenant Winters, led the attack upon the German field artillery batteries at Brecourt Manor, Normandy, against dug-in and numerically-superior enemy forces. An action which was almost textbook in its efficiency and success, so much so that it is still taught at West Point today.

    Winters received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest award for valor in combat, for his courage and leadership, but many of his fellow paratroopers believed that his actions merited a Medal of Honor. It had already been decided to limited the numbers of Medals of Honor awarded during the Normandy invasion, which is why Winters did not receive the honor.

    Winters had been asked about it before his death, and with typical modesty, asked that his men get the credit for what happened that day. Upgrading Winters’ award to a Medal of Honor would not only pay tribute to an extraordinary leader, but to an extraordinary group of men.

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You are currently reading "A Marine And His Pistol", entry #19224 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns,Marine Corps and was published May 15th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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