Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War

from Easy 2/1, September 14, has already been detailed. The second act was by
Corporal Joseph Vittori from Fox 2/1.42
When a forward platoon was hard hit and forced to withdraw, Corporal Vittori ran
past the withdrawing troops with two volunteers at his heels to assault the enemy. His
posthumous Medal of Honor citation continued:
Overwhelming them in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle, he enabled his company
to consolidate its positions to meet further imminent onslaughts. Quick to
respond to an urgent call for a rifleman to defend an heavy machine gun
positioned on the extreme point of the northern flank and virtually isolated from
the remainder of the unit when the enemy again struck in force during the middle
of the night, he assumed position under the devastating barrage and, fighting a
single-handed battle, leaped from one flank to the other, covering each foxhole in
turn as casualties continued to mount, manning a machine gun when the gunner
was struck down and making repeated trips through the heaviest shellfire to
replenish ammunition.43
Reinforcements, too, were pinned down by enemy fire, and many Marine positions
contained only the dead and wounded for a hundred yards around. Vittori, nevertheless,
fought on. NKPAs made it within feet of him, but fell dead. He and another Marine (Lyle
Conaway) simulated greater strength in their area by firing rapidly from different
positions.44
Vittori was only 22 years old and from Beverly, Massachusetts. He almost single-
handedly met one of the fiercest mass charges of the Korean war, and was credited
with killing at least 40 enemy himself. He held off the enemy for more than three hours
with his BAR and expended more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. He used his own
body to draw fire in keeping the infiltrating NKPA soldiers from taking out the Marine MG
positions. He also ranged forward from his fox hole in a wide circle. Twice, enemy leapt
42 st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 3, 19-20; Jack L. Cannon, "Attack on Hills 673 and
749," 24; Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 193.
43 Medal of Honor Award Citation for Joseph Vittori.
44 Ibid.

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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed September 16, 2014.