John Harold Leims
Captain, United States Marine Corps
at Chicago, Illinois, June 8, 1921, he earned the
during World War II while serving as Second Lieutenant, United States Marine
Corps Reserve, Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division,
at Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, March 7, 1945.
He died on June 28, 1985 and was buried in
Section 2, Grave 1133) of Arlington National Cemetery.
John Harold Leims was born in Chicago, Illinois, June 8, 1921, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose P. Leims. He attended St. Hilary Parochial School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary, and was graduated from St. George High School at Evanston, Illinois, in 1939. At St. George's, he played varsity football and track, was sports editor of the school paper, and was an assistant scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America.
After high school, he attended Northwestern University for two and a half years, and worked part-time at the Commonwealth Edison Company. He left college in 1941 following his marriage, and worked subsequently for the Standard Oil Company; the Paschen Construction Company, then engaged in enlarging the Naval Station at Great Lakes, Illinois and the Austin Construction Company.
Enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve on November 27, 1942, he completed recruit training at San Diego and was assigned to the 3d Service Battalion, 3d Marine Division. He left for overseas duty with that outfit, on February 23, 1943. After four months in New Zealand and two months at Guadalcanal, he was selected for officer training and returned to the United States in September 1943. He was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant, March 1, 1944, at Quantico, Virginia.
On June 29 of that year, Lieutenant Leims went overseas again and rejoined the 3d Marine Division. This time, he was a company officer in a rifle company of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. In October and November, he was actively engaged in patrolling against Japanese holdouts on Guam.
Landing on Iwo Jima on February 24, 1945, he was slightly wounded by a shell fragment on February 27, but returned to duty on the same day. On March 3, due to heavy casualties, he became company commander, a position usually filled by a captain. On March 7, he led his company in a surprise attack against a strongly fortified enemy hill position, succeeded in capturing the objective, and in spite of withering fire returned forward to rescue two of his wounded men.
Promoted to first lieutenant, June 1, 1945, he returned to the United States that November and was detached from active duty on January 25, 1946. On June 14 of that year, he was temporarily recalled to active duty to receive the Medal of Honor, presented to him by President Truman in a White House ceremony.
A member of the 9th Reserve District, he was
subsequently promoted to captain in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1956, and
retired July 1, 1962. He died in June 1985 at the age of 64.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. marine Corps Reserve, Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division. Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 7 march 1945. Entered service at: Chicago, Illinois. Born: 8 June 1921, Chicago, Illinois.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of Company B, 1st
Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese
Photo courtesy of Raymond L. Collins
Photo Couresy of Russell C. Jacobs, August 2006
Updated: 30 September 2000 Updated: 25 October 2001 Updated: 15 March 2003 Updated: 23 August 2006