The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
ANTHONY P. DAMATO
United States Marine Corps
Anthony P. Damato
Corporal Anthony P. Damato
United States Marine Corps
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with an assualt company of the Second Battalion, Twenty-Second Marines, Fifth Amphibious Corps, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, on the night of February 19-20 1944. Highly vulnerable to sudden attack by small, fanatical groups of Japanese still at large despite the efficient and determined efforts of our forces to clear the area, Corporal Damato lay with two comrades in a large foxhole in his company's defense perimeter which had been dangerously thinned by the forced withdrawal of nearly half of the available men. When one of the enemy approached the foxhole undetected and threw in a hand grenade, Corporal Damato desperately groped for it in the darkness. Realizing the imminent peril to all three and fully aware of the consequences of his act, he unhesitatingly flung himself on the grenade and, although instantly killed as his body absorbed the explosion, saved the lives of his two companions. Corporal Damato's splendid initiative, fearless conduct and valiant sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades and his counrtry.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
Corporal Anthony P. Damato, awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, served with an assault company of the 2d Battalion, 22d Marines, 5th Amphibious Corps, on Engebi Island, Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands. On the night of 19-20 February 1944, while in a foxhole with two companions, he threw himself upon an enemy grenade, absorbing the explosion in his body. He was instantly killed.
Born 28 March 1922, in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, he was educated in the elementary and high schools of Shenandoah. Prior to enlistment he was last employed as a truck driver.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps on 8 January 1942. He went to Londonderry, North Ireland, in May of that year. He distinguished himself during the first year of his enlistment, volunteering for special duty with a select invasion party that took part in the North African landings. He was advanced in rate for especially meritorious conduct in action while serving aboard ship at Arzeau, Algeria, 8 November 1942, when he landed with an assault wave entering the port from seaward and assisted in boarding and seizing vessels in the harbor as well as the seizure of the port. He returned to the United States in March 1943, and three months later sailed for Pacific duty.
On 9 April 1945, the tiny mining community of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, turned out en masse to pay homage to Cpl Damato at the presentation ceremonies for the Medal of Honor. The presentation was made by BGen M. C. Gregory, USMC, in the Cooper High School were Cpl Damato had been a student, and was presented to his mother.
Corporal Damato was initially buried in the Temporary American Cemetery on Kiririan Island in the Marshall Islands. Later, his remains were reinterred in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.