The phrase “One-Man Army” is over-used, but if anyone deserves the moniker, it’s Platoon Sergeant Joseph Randolph Julian.
During the siege of the Iwo Jima, Julian’s platoon inadvertently stumbled onto one of the many hidden mini-fortifications on the island. Determined to break through the defended Japanese trenches, which were buttressed by a number of pillboxes and cave positions, Julian left his gun, grabbed demolition charges and phosphorus grenades, and rushed a pillbox throwing explosives. Two pillbox occupants were killed, and the remaining five tried to flee into the adjacent trench.
Julian picked up a dead Japanese soldier’s discarded rifle, jumped into the trench, and killed the fleeing Japanese. Still, he wasn’t done. He grabbed more explosives and charged two cave positions, hurling grenades and killing all present. He found a Japanese bazooka and box of rounds. Unassisted, he proceeded to fire three bazooka rounds into the pillbox.
The rocket fire alerted enemy soldiers to his position. They opened fire on Julian as he fired his final round. It hit the pillbox’s ammo magazine, and the last bastion of Japanese resistance went up in a terrific explosion as Julian fell, dead, to the ground.
We honor you, Joseph Julian.