Saturday, September 27, 2014

John P. Fardy, Corporal
United States Marine Corps
John Peter Fardy (August 15, 1922-May 7, 1945) was a United States Marine who was killed in action during World War II. His heroic action, resulting in mortal wounds, on May 6, 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa were recognized with the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest honor.

Early years

John Peter Fardy was born in Chicago Illinois, on August 15, 1922. Educated in the schools of Chicago, he graduated from high school in 1940. He took a course in typing at the Fox Secretarial College the same year and entered the Illinois Institute of Technology the following year. He majored in mechanical engineering but left after the first year. He had been doing time study work previously, so he went to work at the Cornell Forge Company as a time study man and draftsman.

Marine Corps career

Inducted into the Marine Corps on May 8, 1943, he went through recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, upon completion of which he was assigned to the Japanese Language School at his own request. He was promoted to private first class in July, about two weeks before the start of school. After one month of attendance at the language school at Camp Elliott, San Diego, PFC Fardy was transferred to the Infantry Battalion where he was trained as an automatic rifleman.

Private First Class Fardy joined the 29th Replacement Battalion shortly before the unit left the United States on October 28, 1943. He journeyed to Nouméa, New Caledonia, and was reassigned to the 27th Replacement Battalion, which was leaving to join the 1st Marine Division.

Attached to Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines upon his arrival at Goodenough Island, D'Entrecasteaux Islands, early in December 1943, PFC Fardy left with that unit about a week later for Nascing, Alatu, New Guinea. The stay there was a short one also, for the 1st Marines left Finschaffen on Christmas Day 1943, for their December 26 landing on enemy-held Cape Gloucester, New Britain. Within two months of the time he left his home shores, the former draftsman was involved in a battle for an enemy airdrome on an island rarely heard of before.

Following the Cape Gloucester operation, and the return of the 1st Marine Division to the Russell Islands for over three months training, the division left for Peleliu. After practice landings at Guadalcanal, the division landed on the coral-studded, shadeless Peleliu. PFC Fardy participated in the capture of the airport and the attack on the coral hills overlooking it before returning to the Russell Islands with his regiment in early October.

Promoted to Corporal on December 21, 1944, the veteran of two campaigns became a squad leader as the reorganized division started training for the next operation. The training ashore ended in February and the Marines embarked aboard the ships that took them for practice landings at Baniki (Russell Islands), Guadalcanal, and Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands. The landing on Okinawa occurred on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945 and the division's sweep across the island up to the northern tip was accomplished with comparative ease. Later, Marines were moved south to help hard-pressed Army troops.

It was on May 6, 1945 when Company C was advancing against a strongly fortified, fanatically-defended Japanese position that Cpl Fardy's squad was suddenly brought under heavy small-arms fire. Cpl Fardy temporarily deployed his men along a convenient drainage ditch. Shortly afterwards, an enemy hand grenade landed in the ditch, falling among the pinned-down Marines. Instantly, the 21-year-old corporal flung himself upon the grenade and absorbed the exploding charge with his own body. Taken to a field hospital, Cpl Fardy died the next day.

The Medal of Honor was presented to Corporal Fardy's parents at ceremonies conducted by the Marine Corps League in Chicago, September 15, 1946.

Reinterment services for Cpl Fardy, with military honors by the Chicago Detachment of the Marine Corps League, were held on April 7, 1949, at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Medal of Honor citation

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

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 as a Squad Leader, serving with Company C, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Islands, 7 May 1945. When his squad was suddenly assailed by extremely heavy small-arms fire from the front during a determined advance against strongly fortified, fiercely defended Japanese positions, Corporal Fardy temporarily deployed his men along a near-by drainage ditch. Shortly thereafter, an enemy grenade fell among the Marines in the ditch. Instantly throwing himself upon the deadly missile, Corporal Fardy absorbed the exploding blast in his own body, thereby protecting his comrades from certain and perhaps fatal injuries. Concerned solely for the welfare of his men, he willingly relinquished his own hope of survival that his fellow Marines might live to carry on the fight against a fanatic enemy. A stouthearted leader and indomitable fighter, Corporal Fardy, by his prompt decision and resolute spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death, had rendered valiant service, and his conduct throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.