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LST Navy Cross Recipients
LST SAILORS WHO WERE AWARDED
 
THE
 
NAVY CROSS
 
Researched and Written by Mike Guarino
Son of LST Sailor Lt. Joseph M. Guarino (deceased), U.S.N.R.
USS LST 494 and LST 375
of Houston,Texas
huntermjg@yahoo.com
 
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During World War II at least five sailors (4 U.S. Navy, 1 U.S. Coast Guard) serving on LST`s were awarded the coveted Navy Cross.
 
The Navy Cross is the highest decoration that may be bestowed by the Department of the Navy and the second highest decoration given for valor. The Medal of Honor is the only higher decoration that may be awarded to a U.S. serviceman. The Navy Cross is normally only awarded to members of the United States Navy, United Sates Marine Corps and the United States Coast Guard, but can be awarded to all branches of United States military as well as members of foreign militaries. It was established by Act of Congress and approved on February 4, 1919. The Navy Cross is equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross in the Army and the Air Force Cross.
 
The Navy Cross is awarded for extraordinary heroism while engaged in an action against an enemy of the placecountry-regionUnited States. To warrant this distinctive decoration, the act or the execution of duty must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk and must be performed in such a manner as to set the individual apart from his shipmates or fellow Marines. An accumulation of minor acts of heroism does not justify the award. The high standards demanded must be borne in mind when recommending the award.
 
COLEMAN, ROBERT LOUIS Lieutenant, U.S. Navy Reserve Commanding Officer, U.S.S. LST 311 Date of Action: July 10, 1943 Citation: The Navy Cross is presented to Robert Louis Coleman, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. LST 311 during the amphibious assault on Sicily, July 10, 1943. When another landing ship was struck by an aerial bomb off the beach near Gela, Lieutenant Commander Coleman, observing the ignition of a cargo of ammunition loaded on trucks, unhesitatingly brought his own vessel close aboard and fought desperately to help control the rapid spread of the flames. Forced to withdraw when his own ship became imperiled by exploding shells and realizing that the fire was inextinguishable, he returned shortly afterward, placed the bow of the LST 311 alongside the stern of the stricken vessel and rescued forty men who otherwise might have been lost. Birth: 8/28/1913 - New Philadeliaa, OH Home Town:New Philadelphia, OH
 
ALEXANDER, SAMUEL HUGH Lieutenant, U.S. Navy Reserve Commanding Officer, U.S.S. LST 313 Date of Action: July 10, 1943 Citation: The Navy Cross is presented to Samuel Hugh Alexander, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. LST 313 during the amphibious assault on the Island of Sicily, July 10, 1943. After beaching his ship at the assigned point near Gela, Lieutenant Alexander was disembarking assault troops and vehicles when enemy aircraft bombed his vessel, setting fire to the cargo of ammunition, land mines, and other inflammable material loaded in trucks. With great courage, he skillfully directed the fighting of the blaze and the rescue and transfer of all survivors, many of whom had been severely burned and injured from the terrific explosion. By his prompt and gallant action, Lieutenant Alexander temporarily checked the spreading of the fire and saved the lives of many of the embarked personnel who otherwise might have been lost. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy of the United States. Birth: 5/1/1914 - Winton, CA Home Town: Winton, CA
 
 
ERICKSON, FREDERICK LUTHUR Seaman First Class, U.S. Navy Reserve U.S.S. LST 473 Date of Action: September 4, 1943 Citation: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Frederick Luther Erickson, Seaman First Class, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty in action against the enemy while serving as Helmsman aboard U.S.S. LST FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-THREE (LST-473), during operations against Lae, New Guinea, on 4 September 1943. Seaman First Class Erickson was severely wounded by the impact of a direct bomb hit which blew him out of the pilot house. Upon recovering consciousness he returned to his battle station, and, despite acute pain and waning strength, gamely endeavored to hold the stricken ship on her course until he was relieved by one of his shipmates. The conduct of Seaman First Class Erickson throughout this action contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service. Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 334 (January 1945)  Birth: 8/6/1920 - Slater, Iowa Home : Des Moines, Iowa
 
GILL, WARREN CALAVAN Lieutenant (j.g.), U.S. Coast Guard U.S.S. LST 357 Date of Action: September 9, 1943 Citation: The Navy Cross is presented to Warren Calavan Gill, Lieutenant (j.g.), U.S. Coast Guard, for extraordinary heroism in action as Officer in Charge of small boats for the amphibious assault at Salerno, Italy. Lieutenant (junior grade) Gill, while directing the lowering of small boats from U.S.S. LST 357, which was under enemy fire, was seriously wounded. Despite his wounds he continued with utmost intrepidity to efficiently carry on his duty as commander of the assault flotillas, giving last-minute instructions to the officers and crews. He then collapsed and his injuries were found to be so severe that many months of hospitalization will be required for recovery. Lieutenant (junior grade) Gill's heroism was an inspiration to all officers and men of the flotilla. Because of this and the patient and thorough instruction he had carried out in the landing technique throughout the training periods and the landings in Algeria and Sicily, the performance of this boat in the assault was most admirable. Home State: Oregon
 
 
PETERSON, E.A.  Lieutenant, U.S. Navy Reserve Commanding Officer, U.S.S. LST 455
Date of Action: September 14, 1943 Citation:
Exact wording of citation not available.
For extraordinary heroism during the Japanese aerial attack on LST 455 and a nest of LCIs alongside. LST 455 at the time was acting as a landing craft repair ship on the Huon Peninsula, Lae, New Guinea. Nine dive bombers, escorted by nine Zero fighters attacked. A large bomb hit the stern, passed through the galley and exploded in the crew`s quarters aft, starting fires and trapping men in the aft steering room. Lt. Peterson personally directed damage control parties that cut through the bulkhead to rescue the trapped men and battled fires to save the ship. 18 men were killed in action during the attack, 11 were wounded and 6 were missing.
 
 
LST Medal Of Honor Recipients
 
During World War II two LST sailors were awarded our nation`s highest award for combat heroism, the Medal of Honor. Both were awarded posthumously.
Ensign John Joseph Parle of Nebraska was the small boat officer aboard the USS LST 375 during the July 9, 1943 Invasion of Sicily in the Mediterranean Theater of War.
 
Seaman First Class Johnnie David Hutchins of Texas was the helmsman aboard the USS LST 473 during the September 4, 1943 assault on Lae, New Guinea in the Southwest Pacific Theater of War.
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