Luther Skaggs, Jr.
Private First Class, United States Marine Corps
|Corporal Luther Skaggs,
Jr., a former Marine and Medal of Honor recipient died on April 6, 1976,
and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Corporal Skaggs, a squad leader with a mortar section in the 3d Marine Division, was critically wounded when a Japanese grenade exploded in his foxhole during the night of July 21-22, 1944 on the Asan-Adelup beachhead on Guam. But instead of calling a corpsman and revealing his outfit's position, he calmly applied a tourniquet to his shattered leg and for eight hours continued to return the enemy's fire with his rifle and hand grenades.
In the official Medal of Honor citation, he is commended for being uncomplaining and calm through this critical period and serving as "a heroic example of courage and fortitude to other wounded men."
When his section leader became a casualty shortly after landing on the beachhead, Skaggs promptly took over and led the section through intense fire for a distance of 200 yards to a strategic position.
It was while defending this vital position that he was wounded, and after fighting throughout the night propped up in his foxhole, he crawled unassisted to the rear where he continued the attack. Only when the Japanese in the area had been annihilated did he seek medical attention. He lost his leg as the result of the wound.
Skaggs was referred to as a "tough little guy" by his buddies, who did not know that he had been hit until the battle was over. He was a private first class at the time of the action, and was promoted to corporal upon being honorably discharged from active service in the Marine Corps, April 4, 1946.
The son of Mrs. Ida Skaggs Stoermer of Henderson, Kentucky and Luther Skaggs of Brownsville, Kentucky, Corporal Skaggs was born March 3, 1923 in Henderson. He entered the Marine Corps, October 6, 1942, and received recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He went overseas, March 1, 1943.
The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Harry Truman
at a White House ceremony, June 15, 1945.
He died on April 4, 1976 and was buried in Section 46 of Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
SKAGGS, LUTHER, JR.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve,
3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division. Place and date: Asan-Adelup
beachhead, Guam, Marianas Islands, 21 -22 July 1944. Entered service at:
Kentucky. Born: 3 March
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as squad leader with a mortar section of a rifle company in the 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on the Asan-Adelup beachhead, Guam, Marianas Islands, 21 -22 July 1944. When the section leader became a casualty under a heavy mortar barrage shortly after landing, Pfc. Skaggs promptly assumed command and led the section through intense fire for a distance of 200 yards to a position from which to deliver effective coverage of the assault on a strategic cliff. Valiantly defending this vital position against strong enemy counterattacks during the night, Pfc. Skaggs was critically wounded when a Japanese grenade lodged in his foxhole and exploded, shattering the lower part of one leg. Quick to act, he applied an improvised tourniquet and, while propped up in his foxhole, gallantly returned the enemy's fire with his rifle and handgrenades for a period of 8 hours, later crawling unassisted to the rear to continue the fight until the Japanese had been annihilated. Uncomplaining and calm throughout this critical period, Pfc. Skaggs served as a heroic example of courage and fortitude to other wounded men and, by his courageous leadership and inspiring devotion to duty, upheld the high traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Photo courtesy of Raymond L. Collins