Major Everett Parker Pope was awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry on Peleliu in September 1944 while leading his men in an assault on a strategic hill, and for holding it, with rocks and bare fists when ammunition ran low, against Japanese suicide attacks.
On 20 September 1944, Capt Pope and his company set out to storm Hill 154, a steep, barren, coral hill protruding from the face of Suicide Ridge, according to a field dispatch from TSgt Joseph L. Alli of Buffalo, New York, a Marine Corps Combat Correspondent.
From almost point blank range, Japanese mortars and field guns opened up on them from adjoining peaks on Suicide Ridge. Capt Pope and his men took Hill 154 at dusk after hours of bloody fighting which nearly decimated the group.
Forced to deploy his men thinly, he nevertheless determined to hold his ground for the night. Immediately after darkness fell the Japanese started to attack, first in small infiltrating bands, and, when these units failed, in groups of 20 to 25 who tried storming the hill.
Each time, the Marines opened fire with everything they had - one light machine gun, several Tommy guns and rifles, and a limited supply of hand grenades. When the grenades ran low, they hurled rocks. "We would throw three or four rocks, then a grenade. The Japanese didn't know which were which," one Marine said.
By sunrise the Marines were beating off the enemy with bare fists and hurling ammunition boxes at them. Finally only eight riflemen remained. When daylight brought deadly fire, Capt Pope was ordered to withdraw.
Everett Parker Pope was born 16 July 1919 in Milton, Massachusetts, but who later moved to North Quincy, Massachusetts. He graduated with honor from North Quincy High School in 1936. In June 1941, he received his BS degree upon graduation from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, where he was captain of the tennis team. He graduated magna cum laude, with honors in French, and designated a Phi Beta Kappa.
On 1 November 1941, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He trained at Quantico, Virginia, and New River, North Carolina, prior to going overseas in June 1942 with the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. On 7 August 1942, as the leader of a machine gun platoon, he participated in the landing and action at Guadalcanal.
In 1943, he was transferred to Melbourne, Australia, with his unit. Later, he again went into combat, as a company commander with the 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, in the Cape Gloucester, New Britain campaign, from December 1943 to April 1944. In the mopping-up operations which followed, he led a 14-man patrol which in one day killed 20 and captured seven of the enemy during a 12-mile trek over jungle trails.
From 12-30 September 1944, he took part in action in the Peleliu campaign during which he earned the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart. Although wounded in action on 20 September he returned to duty the next day, and remained overseas until November 1944.
He was promoted to major in January 1945 and assigned for one year as a student in the Japanese language course at Yale University. On 16 July 1946, he was assigned an inactive duty status in the Marine Corps, and returned to his home and private employment in Massachusetts. There he became affiliated with the Marine Corps Reserve and commanded the 2d Infantry Battalion, USMCR, Hingham, Massachusetts, until August 1950, when he was called to active duty with his battalion upon the outbreak of the Korean Conflict. He served as Executive Officer of the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, until September 1951, when he was released to inactive duty and, shortly thereafter, resigned his commission in the Marine Corps.
Mr. Pope passed away on 16 July 2009 at the age of 90 in Bath, Maine. He was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.