Gonsalves, Charles Harold

Date of birth:
January 28th, 1926 (Alameda/California, United States)
Date of death:
April 15th, 1945 (Okinawa Shima/Ryukyu Islands, Japan)
Buried on:
American War Graves Golden Gate National Cemetery
Plot: B. Grave: 61.
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

Harold Gonsalves dropped out of High School after 2.5 years and went to work at the Montgomery Ward in Oakland as a storehouse employee. On May 27th, 1943, he reported for duty to the Marine Corps Reserves and was called up for active service on June 17th, 1943. After boot camp at the Marine Corps Depot in San Diego, he volunteered for the Marine Raiders at Camp Pendleton, California and subsequently for the Marine Artillery. At the end of 1943, he was posted to 30th Replacement Battalion as a qualified gunner on 75 and 105mm guns.
He left the United States on November 8th, 1943 to join the 2nd PAK Houwitzer Battalion on Hawaii. March 1944 saw Gonsalves promoted to Private first class and in May 1944, his unit was incorporated into the 22nd Marine Regiment.
With this unit, he took part in the occupation of Engebi and Parry in the Marshall Islands, Eniwetok, Kwajalien and Guam.
November 1944 saw Gonsalves transferred to to Battery L, 4th Battalion, 15th Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division. He landed on Okinawa with this unit on April 1st, 1945.
April 15th, 1945, Harold Gonsalves was killed in action as Scout Sergeant of an eight man, forward observation team.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Private First Class (Lance Corporal)
Unit:
Battery L, 4th Battalion, 15th Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division "The Striking Sixth", U.S. Marine Corps
Awarded on:
June 19th, 1946
Awarded for:
Operation Iceberg
Action:
Citation:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Acting Scout Sergeant with the 4th Battalion, 15th Marines, 6th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 15 April 1945. Undaunted by the powerfully organized opposition encountered on Motobu Peninsula during the fierce assault waged by his battalion against the Japanese stronghold at Mount Yaetake, Pfc. Gonsalves repeatedly braved the terrific enemy bombardment to aid his forward observation team in directing well-placed artillery fire. When his commanding officer determined to move into the front lines in order to register a more effective bombardment in the enemy's defensive position, he unhesitatingly advanced uphill with the officer and another Marine despite a slashing barrage of enemy mortar and rifle fire. As they reached the front and a Japanese grenade fell close within the group, instantly Pfc. Gonsalves dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and thereby protecting the others from serious and perhaps fatal wounds. Stouthearted and indomitable, Pfc. Gonsalves readily yielded his own chances of survival that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy and his cool decision, prompt action and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service."
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Presented on June 19th, 1946 to PFC Gonsalves' sister in the presence of his parents at ceremonies in the office of the commanding general of the Department of the Pacific, MajGen Henry L. Larsen, USMC in San Francisco, California.
Medal of Honor - Navy/Marine Corps (MoH)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Action:
Awarded with a bronze campaign star.
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

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