USMC Stinger Machine Gun: Medal of Honor on Iwo Jima

Corporal Tony Stein
United States Marine Corps Reserve

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company A, First Battalion, Twenty-Eighth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, in the Volcano Island, 19 February 1945. The first man of his unit to be on station after hitting the beach in the initial assault, Corporal Stein, armed with a personally improvised aircraft-type weapon, provided rapid covering fire as the remainder of his platoon attempted to move into position and, when his comrades were stalled by a concentrated machine-gun and mortar barrage, gallantly stood upright and exposed himself to the enemy’s view, thereby drawing the hostile fire to his own person and enabling him to observe the location of the furiously blazing hostile guns. Determined to neutralize the strategically placed weapons, he boldly charged the enemy pillboxes one by one and succeeded in killing twenty of the enemy during the furious single-handed assault. Cool and courageous under the merciless hail of exploding shells and bullets which fell on all sides, he continued to deliver the fire of his skillfully improvised weapon at a tremendous rate of speed which rapidly exhausted his ammunition. Undaunted, he removed his helmet and shoes to expedite his movements an ran back to the beach for additional ammunition, making a total of eight trips under intense fire and carrying or assisting a wounded man back each time. Despite the unrelenting savagery and confusion of battle, he rendered prompt assistance to his platoon whenever the unit was in position, directing the fire of a half-track against a stubborn pillbox until he had effected the ultimate destruction of the Japanese fortification. Later in the day, although his weapon was twice shot from his hands, he personally covered the withdrawal of his platoon to the company position. Stouthearted and indomitable, Corporal Stein, by his aggressive initiative, sound judgment and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of terrific odds, contributed materially to the fulfillment of his mission, and his outstanding valor throughout the bitter hours of conflict sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Harry S. Truman
President of the United States

The Stinger was a Browning aircraft machine gun adapted to use an M1 Garand buttstock and BAR bipod, used as a light machine gun by the US Marine Corps during the invasion of Iwo Jima in 1945. The gun was the creation of Sergeant Mel J Grevich oof the 5th Marine Division. Six were built and used on the attack on Iwo, including one by Corporal Tony Stein, whose outstanding bravery is documented in the Medal of Honor citation above. None of the original guns survive today, but I have the privilege of showing you this reproduction created by the Canadian Historical Arms Museum with the assistance of O’Dell Engineering.

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