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EDSON, Merritt A.

AWARDED THE MEDAL OF HONOR DURING WW II

EDSON, Merritt A. (1st Raider Bn., Hq Company)
Colonel, USMC. Born 25 April, 1897, Rutland, VT. (1-2 p10-11)

“For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the First Raider Battalion, with Parachute Battalion attached, during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on the night of 13-14 September, 1942. After the airfield on Guadalcanal had been seized from the enemy on 8 August, Colonel Edson, with a force of 800 men, was assigned to the occupation and defense of a ridge dominating the jungle on either side of the airport. Facing a formidable Japenese attack which, augmented by infiltration, had crashed through our front lines, he, by skillful handling of his troops, successfully withdrew his forward units to a reserve line with minimum casualties. When the enemy, in a subsequent series of violent assaults, engaged our force in desperate hand-to-hand combat with bayonets, rifles, pistols, grenades, and knives, Colonel Edson, although continuously exposed to hostile fire throughout the night, personally directed defense of the reserve position against a fanatical foe of greatly superior numbers. By his astute leadership and gallant devotion to duty, he enabled his men, despite severe losses to cling tenaciously to their position on the vital ridges thereby retaining command not only of the Guadalcanal airfield, but also of the First Division’s entire offensive installations in the surrounding area.”

History of Medal of Honor