face and hands. The blast had also damaged the transverse mechanism on the MG.
Blasongame continued firing anyway by manually moving the tripod itself from side to
side. When 0400 came, only four survivors remained of his sixteen man section. Three
of the casualties had been KIA. In front of his position were 287 dead NKPA.
Blasongame was one reason his unit was able to hold.50
The second 2/1 Marine to earn a Navy Cross that night was PFC Lyle F.
Conaway, a Rifleman of Fox Company, 2/1. When the attack came, he volunteered with
Joseph Vittori to defend the HMG on the extreme point of the northern flank. This
required him to be in a relatively exposed position when the heavy barrage came down,
but he braved the rain of exploding steel, and stayed where he could defend the HMG.
He punched out round after round into advancing enemy from his M-1 rifle, and when
the "ping" of an empty clip spent itself inaudibly in the crash of battle, he pressed in
another 8 round clip from his bandolier and resumed fire. Later, the HMG was knocked
out by fire, and he rushed from position to position, firing as fast as he could to make
the enemy think more men were in his area. This enabled other Marines to get the HMG
back into action. Conaway was seriously wounded in his actions, but refused
evacuation, continuing to fire on the enemy until he became too weak from blood loss.
"By his indomitable spirit and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, he
contributed immeasurably to the repulse of the hostile force."51
Conaway remembered the actions of himself and Joe Vittori that night:
I no longer have an accurate sense of when certain events on that night
took place. I know Joe and I decided each of us should try to catch some sleep. I
took the first watch, but after only ten minutes Vittori sat up and told me to try to
get some rest. Damn, I fell asleep. Next thing I knew, Joe was shaking me and
si Navy Cross Award Citation for Lyle F. Conaway.
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 July 25, 2014.