Stories by Sixth Division Marines
Ben Prophitt Earns the Bronze Star
by Harry McKnight (29th Mar-3-H)
And now lest we forget... Many heroes among our Marine friends and their wives have been assigned to "Guard the Streets." Before more pass on, I have one in mind.
Here is the citation for Ben Prophitt:
"The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Bronze Medal to Private First Class Benjamin F. Prophitt, Unites States Marine Corps Reserve, for service set forth in the following Citation.
"For heroic achievements while serving in a Machine Gun Platoon of Company H, Third Battalion, Twenty Ninth Marines, Sixth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 31 May 1945. While his company was attacking a strongly-held enemy ridge defended by intense mortar and machine gun fire, Private First Class Prophitt moved forward with his machine gun section across an open field where a fierce fire fight ensued during which several Marines were seriously wounded in the exposed fire-swept area. Although previous attempts to reach the casualties had been unsuccessful, Private First Class Prophitt, realizing their need for immediate medical attention, voluntarily dashed through the open field and joined another Marine in an evacuation of three of the wounded to a position where they could be safely treated. After completing three trips under heavy machine gun fire, he immediately returned to his own machine-gun squad where he assisted in directing effective fire on the enemy, which enabled his company to continue its advance. By his initiative and courage, he aided materially in saving the lives of the wounded, and his unselfish devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Unites States Naval Service.”
I remember that day when Ben earned his Bronze Star.
John Wells and our squad were off to his right about 50 yards trying to get across an opening in the rice paddies. I had two ammo boxes, a Nip rifle, my M1, and a shirt full of grenades. We went at intervals. When it was my turn to run, I got about half way, slipped on the edge of a paddy, and down I went. John thought I was hit.
I knew the Nips would take another shot so I moved the boxes to protect my head, and while the Nips were after Ben, I took off running and made it. John Wells said he never saw someone run that fast loaded down like I was!