ANTHONY CASAMENTO, USMC
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Medal of Honor Citation
Corporal Anthony Casamento, born 16 November 1920 in Manhattan, New York, was presented the Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter on 12 September 1980 in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, 38 years after Cpl Casamento's heroism on Guadalcanal in 1942.
Corporal Casamento enlisted in the Marine Corps on 19 August 1940 in New York City. After completing recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, he was assigned to the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division.
Six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 5th Marines was on its way to the southwest Pacific to take part in the initial invasion of Japanese-held territory as part of the 1st Marine Division. The Marine landing on Guadalcanal began in August 1942 and Cpl Casamento made the assault with Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.
On 1 November 1942, while serving as a leader of a machine gun squad, Cpl Casamento's Marines came under heavy enemy fire near the Matanikau River. During the ensuing battle, all members of the unit were either killed or severely wounded. Despite his own multiple wounds, Cpl Casamento continued to provide supporting fire and heroically held the enemy at bay, thereby protecting the flanks of adjoining companies until he was physically unable to continue.
Corporal Casamento was treated at a medical aid station, then shipped back to the United States and admitted to the naval hospital in Oakland, California.
In 1964, it was learned that two eyewitnesses to Cpl Casamento's heroism were still alive. That set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately result in his receiving the Medal of Honor in 1980.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Cpl Casamento's awards include the Purple Heart, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal with two bronze stars, the Presidential Unit Citation and the American Defense Service Medal.
Corporal Casamento died 27 July 1987 in the VA hospital in Northport, New York, after a long illness.