Cpl. Robert E. Voorhees, K/3/8
Serial Number - 311224
Cpl. Voorhees was awarded the Silver Star for the following action on Betio Island during 22 November 43:
"One of the most decisive actions of a small group of men in the battle was carried out by Cpl. Robert E. Voorhees and four other Marines. Enemy fire coming from a large bomb-proof shelter on the flank of the battalion had caused numerous casualties and had been holding up the advance for two days. Demolition crews beginning the assault under the cover of friendly fire were soon pinned down by heavy machine gun fire from the structure. The success of the demolition group depended on quick action because mortar shells were bursting close by the shallow trenches in which Voorhees' assault crew had taken cover offered little or no protection. Realizing that enemy fire must be lifted from the demolition team so that they could advance and place their charges, Voorhees exposed himself and the four other Marines to heavy machinegun fire in order to move to a position from which they could bring fire to bear on the shelter. Their initial fire was answered immediately. During the violent action which followed, the demolition group advanced and plated their charges. The explosion partially demolished the shelter and killed about one hundred of the enemy within. The remainder, approximately two hundred, emerging from the main entrance firing rifles and light machineguns in an effort to withdraw and to establish a new defense, were met by the fire of Voorhees and his comrades, who were closing in. The engagement that followed was violent and at close quarters and resulted in the death of many more of the enemy. The reduction of the bomb proofed shelter, made possible the advance of the battalion and the securing of the northeast section of the island."
copyright 2010 Wheaton, Illinois
Created 2 July 2001 - Updated 25 November 2010