Joseph Vittori Medal of Honor
September 16, 1951, in Marine Corps history.
On September 16, 1951, Corporal Joseph Vittori, 22, of Beverly, Massachusetts, earned the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of the Punchbowl near Songnae-dong, South Korea.
During the battle, Vittori's company was attacking Hill 749, on which North Korean troops had several entrenched positions. Following a North Korean counter-attack that resulted in heavy Marine Corps casualties, Vittori, along with two other volunteers, charged into oncoming enemy troops, engaging them in hand-to-hand combat to give his company time to consolidate its positions.
Later, Vittori volunteered to defend an isolated machine gun position on his company's flank. Over the next three hours, Vittori single-handedly fought to prevent enemy troops from breaking through Marine lines. Vittori repeatedly made trips through enemy fire to replenish his ammunition, manned a machine gun after the gunner was killed, and, despite North Korean troops closing to within feet of his position, Vittori continued to fight until he was killed. The following morning, Marines counted nearly 200 dead enemy soldiers in Vittori's vicinity.
Marine Corps Corporal Joseph Vittori. (USMC photo/released).
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