My wife's uncle was there:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to First Lieutenant William H. Sanders, II (MCSN: 0-15606), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service while serving as a Reconnaissance Officer of Company D, First Battalion, Second Marines, SECOND Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces at Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, on 21 November 1943. When intense fire from enemy shore emplacements inflicted heavy casualties on our forces as they waded toward the beach, First Lieutenant Sanders voluntarily prepared to attack the hostile positions with the aid of a Sergeant of his company. Bringing a 75-mm. pack howitzer into use and neutralizing the devastating fire of the first pillbox, he courageously rushed the position despite heavy fire from another emplacement and destroyed the pillbox with hand grenades, moving inside immediately thereafter to kill any remaining defenders. Under the accurate covering fire of the Sergeant, he then crawled twenty-five yards to the first of a group of four connecting emplacements and, completely destroying the position with TNT, unhesitatingly advanced on the second emplacement and annihilated the defenders with hand grenades. After throwing several grenades into the third pillbox, he entered the position and succeeded in killing one of the Japanese before he, himself, was seriously wounded. By his splendid initiative, First Lieutenant Sanders put out of action three enemy .25 caliber and two 13-mm. machine guns and one 20-mm. anti-boat gun. His indomitable fighting spirit and self-sacrificing devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.Mr. Sanders survived his wounds and went on to further service in the Pacific. After the war, he became a successful attorney in West Virginia.
General Orders: SPOT AWARD, Commander in Chief Pacific Forces: Serial 0647
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