HENRY ALEXIUS COURTNEY, JR., USMCR
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Medal of Honor Citation
Major Henry Alexius Courtney, Jr., posthumous recipient of the Nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor, was killed in action on Okinawa as a member of the 6th Marine Division on the night of 14-15 May 1945. The award was presented to his parents on 30 December 1947 by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Alexander A. Vandegrift.
The citation accompanying the Medal of Honor credited Major Courtney with "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Executive Officer of the 2d Battalion, 22d Marines, 6th Marine Division in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Islands, 14-15 May 1945."
Henry Alexius Courtney, Jr. was born 6 January 1916, in Duluth, Minnesota. Before entering the service, he had been admitted to the bar in Minnesota and Illinois, having received his bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and his doctor's degree from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois.
He received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve in February 1940, and in March of that year, was placed in command of the Duluth unit of the Marine Corps Reserve which was mobilized and sent to San Diego, California, for training.
He later went to Iceland where he served for ten months. At Guadalcanal, Solomons Islands, he participated in the first United States offensive of World War II, commanding a company of the 1st Marine Division.
His next combat action was Okinawa, where his gallantry earned for him the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor. He was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart with Gold Star in lieu of a second award for wounds received in that campaign.
Major Courtney's remains were initially buried in the 6th Marine Division Cemetery on Okinawa. Later, in 1948, his remains were reinterred in Calvary Cemetery, Duluth, Minnesota.