Sgt. Clarence E. Petrie, D/1/2
Sgt. Petrie received the following decorations:
a. Silver Star-- Guadalcanal 11/3/42
b. Navy Cross-- Tarawa 11/20/43
c. British Conspicuous Gallentry Medal (C.C.M.)--Tarawa (presented 6/26/46 in San Francisco)
The citation for Petrie's Navy Cross and C.C.M. reads:
"As a two man army, Sgt. Clarence E. Petrie and his platoon leader are in a class to themselves."
"Sgt. Petrie displayed extraordinary heroism as a weapons Company Reconnaissance Sergeant during action against Japanses forces in Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, November 21 1943. On this day, The Japanese were in possession of many strong pillboxes and dugouts on the beach: these were causing heavy casualties among Marines attempting to gain the beach by wading through the shallow waters. Petrie, accompanied only by the officer, voluntarily assisted in attacking and destroying four of the strong enemy positions. He helped put a 75mm pack howitzer in position to fire on the first pillbox and helped to load the howitzer in the face of heavy machinegun fire. He then with the lieutenant rushed the position and entered it to ascertain if all the Japanses were dead. Without hesitation they attacked four large pillboxes connected together by trenches. They attacked the first position in the face of heavy machinegun fire, and under the cover of the accurate and steady fire of Petrie, the pillbox was gained and a number of handgrenades and TNT tossed in, after which both men entered to finish off the enemy. By way of the connecting trenches, they made an assault on the second position and killed its occupants. They then attacked the third position, and after throwing grenades and TNT inside, they entered to mop up. Two Japanese were discovered and killed by grenades before the Lieutenant was seriously wounded by a Japanese grenade. Without hesitation, and at great risk of his own life, Petrie dragged the officer outside to safety and carried him back to the aid station. By his heroic conduct, courage and devotion to duty, he put out of action three .25 machine guns, two 13mm machine guns, and one 20mm anti-boat gun."
Col. Clyde H. Metcalf, "This was Tarawa", The Marine Corps Gazette May, 1944.
The other half of Petrie's two-man army was the platoon leader 1st Lt. William H. Sanders.
Ray Duffee reports, "Petrie was killed in a logging accident in 1947 at Gridley, California. A large cable snapped, killing him. He and I were tentmates in New Zealand and we both received our British Awards together at the British Consulate in San Francisco on 6/26/46."
Thanks Ray, for the information on your buddy.
copyright 2000 Wheaton, Illinois
Created 12 April 2001 - Updated 17 April 2001