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Rupertus, William Henry "Bill"

Date of birth:
November 14th, 1889 (Washington, D.C., United States)
Date of death:
March 25th, 1945 (Quantico/Virginia, United States)
Buried on:
Arlington National Cemetery
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Brigadier General
Unit:
Landing Task Force (Solomon Islands), U.S. Marine Corps
Awarded on:
October 1942
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to William H. Rupertus (0-852), Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Commander of a Landing Force Task Organization comprised of the First Raider Battalion, the Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, and the First Parachute Battalion, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the attack on the Solomon Islands, 7 to 9 August 1942. Despite the comparatively short time afforded him in which to organize his command, Brigadier General Rupertus quickly and efficiently assembled a provisional staff, and with their aid, his forces landed on Tulagi, Gavutu and Tanambogo, British Solomon Islands, and successfully assaulted a series of strategically disposed and strongly defended enemy positions. Personally conducting the operation and dauntlessly exposing himself to enemy fire whenever necessary, he displayed exceptional courage and cool determination which served as an inspiration to the officers and men of his command. His bold and judicious decisions and his high professional attainments contributed effectively to the success of our operations in the Tulagi Area and his conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Navy Cross
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Awarded on:
May 5th, 1944
"For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States in the Southwest Pacific Area from 20 October 1943 to 10 February 1944. As Commander of a Task Force Major General Rupertus with conspicuous success skillfully executed the assault against the enemy stronghold at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. In an undertaking fraught with hazard he demonstrated exceptional ability in overcoming great difficulties of weather and terrain that faced his force. After firmly establishing a beachhead between two large enemy forces he brilliantly maneuvered his troops to destroy each in turn. Although the stubbornly resisting enemy had every advantage of terrain and established defenses he inflicted on it disproportionate losses, exceeding the ratio of ten to one. The skillful and courageous leadership of Major General Rupertus was largely responsible for the success of this bold extension of our operations."
War Department, General Orders No. 37
Distinguished Service Medal - Army (DSM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Unit:
1st Marine Division "The Old Breed", U.S. Marine Corps
"For exceptionally meritorious service to the Government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility as Commanding General of the FIRST Marine Division, Reinforced, during operations against enemy Japanese-held Peleliu Island, Palau Islands, from 15 September 1944 to 14 October 1944. Landing his powerful fighting FIRST Division against the fierce opposition of constant artillery and mortar fire from high ground and devastating fire from firmly entrenched pill boxes and concealed positions adjacent to the beaches, Major General Rupertus gallantly maneuvered his command over swamps, rocky and precipitous slopes and through dense jungle growth in a relentless advance, resolutely withstanding repeated counterattacks to annihilate a fanatically determined enemy or drive him back into a defensive pocket in the centrally located hills of the island. A dauntless and inspiring leader, cool and efficient under fire, Major General Rupertus contributed immeasurably to the capture of a strategically vital Japanese stronghold, fulfilling his difficult and hazardous mission with outstanding professional skill and distinction in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Distinguished Service Medal - Navy/USMC

Sources

  • - Recipients of The Navy Cross, 1916 - Present, by C. Douglas Sterner
    - McMillan, G., The Old Bree A History of the First Marine Division in World War II, The Battery Press, Nashville, USA, 2001
    - Camp, D., Last Man Standing The 1st Marine Regiment on Peleliu, September 15-21, 1944, Zenith Press, Minneapolis, USA, 2008
    - arlingtoncemetery.net
    - William Rupertus - Recipient -