Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 168
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personal valor, had kept the point position intact despite the tremendous odds and
undoubtedly prevented the entire battalion position from collapsing." Vittori's platoon
was part of the two Marine companies credited with crushing the NKPA regiment that
had assaulted the hill. One Marine officer, 1st Lt Edward B. Boyd of Nebraska, whose
platoon was first hit in the assault estimated that "If it's possible to figure such things in
percentages, Corporal Vittori was at least 25 percent of the battalion's strength."48
Three 2/1 Marines earned the Navy Cross in the same action. The first was PFC
Richard N. Blasongame, acting platoon sergeant for Weapons Company's HMG
platoon. His HMGs were emplaced along a ridgeline on the point of his battalion's
perimeter, "exposed to attack from all three sides and in close proximity to fortified
enemy positions." When the massive counterattack came, his gun section was in the
hornet's nest of the assault. In the heated chaos of exploding shells, screaming men,
and white hot-steel, Blasongame remained calm and maintained perfect fire control. He
manned a gun when one of his gunners was hit, hurled grenades, and gave first aid to
the fallen. He also made sure the wounded were evacuated, and continually rallied his
men to repulse every attack.49
Soon, ammo and grenades were short. Blasongame leapt from his foxhole and
made his way under heavy fire to tell the CO of the company. He then helped with the
resupply. Once, he found out the troops to either side of his section were all casualties,
but he nevertheless refused to withdraw and held his area, "later going to adjacent
positions, bringing up reinforcements, and placing them in positions on his flanks. When
a grenade exploded under his last remaining gun," Blasongame received shrapnel in his
48 Medal of Honor Award Citation for Joseph Vittori; Undated Public Information Document by Sgt. Frank
49 Navy Cross Award Citation for Richard N. Blasongame.
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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War, thesis, August 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/m1/183/?rotate=90: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .