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Pharmacists Mate First Class Francis Pierce Jr.

Date of Award: June 25, 1948
Conflict: World War II
Branch: U.S. Navy

Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Francis Pierce Jr. portraitOn March 15, 1945, Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Francis Pierce Jr.’s party was caught in a heavy fight with Japanese soldiers. A corpsman, two of eight stretcher-bearers and two Marines were seriously wounded. Because no safe way existed to evacuate the wounded, Pierce covered survivors by exposing himself, taking the enemy under fire with his Tommy gun. His action allowed the stretcher-bearers to move the wounded to a safer place. Pierce then deliberately drew the attention of a sniper and used the last of his ammunition to kill the Japanese. He lifted one of the casualties on his back and carried him across 200 feet of open terrain under intense rifle fire to the battle aid station.

The following day, however, his luck ran out. Leading a patrol to destroy a nest of snipers, his group encountered strong resistance. As Pierce aided a fallen Marine, a Japanese round hit his shoulder. Then a grenade exploded blowing shrapnel into his left leg and back. Refusing aid for himself, however, Pierce returned to treat the casualty.

Citation: 

"Completely fearless, completely devoted to the care of his patients, Petty Officer Pierce inspired the entire battalion.”

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