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b. 17/04/1924 Pulaski, Virginia. d. 18/09/1944 Peleliu, Palau Islands.


DATE OF MOH ACTION: 15/09/1944 Peleliu, Palau Islands.


Lewis Kenneth Bausell was born in Pulaski, Virginia on April 17, 1924. Moving to Washington, he attended the local public schools and then went to work as a bookbinder for Ransdell, Incorporated, a Washington printer. He was employed there at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.


The week following the Pearl Harbor attack, on December 15, Bausell enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for a four-year period. After training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, he joined the 1st Marine Division in New River, North Carolina. Bausell was promoted to Private First Class on March 25, 1942, and to Corporal on June 1, 1942. On May 20, 1942, the 5th Marines sailed for the Pacific arriving at Wellington, New Zealand, on June 20, 1942, the marines immediately began preparations for landing in the Solomon Islands.


Corporal Bausell took part in the initial landings on Guadalcanal and fought there for four months before going southward to Melbourne, Australia. In the spring of the next year he sailed for New Guinea.


Serving with the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Cpl Bausell prepared for the next campaign, in New Guinea and then made the Cape Gloucester, New Britain, landing three days after the original invasion in December 1943. With that campaign concluded, the division returned to the Solomon Islands and went to Pavuvu Island for rest, rehabilitation, and preparation for another campaign.


The Peleliu landing took place on September 15, 1944 and the 5th Marines were the left flank regiment on the division front. In the first hour of action, the assault waves fought their way 100 yards inland to the top of a small coral ridge, one of dozens on the island. Cpl Bausell, who, one month earlier had been examined and found qualified for promotion to the rank of sergeant, was in a squad assigned to clean out one of the many enemy-infested caves which honeycombed the ridge.


On one side of the cave, a Marine second lieutenant and several of his men used a flame thrower to force the enemy out while Cpl Bausell and several others waited with rifles ready. Two men stood at the entrance, firing into the cave. A Japanese soldier charged out holding a grenade against his body and lunged toward the small band of Marines. The grenade exploded injuring several Marines and killing the attacker.


As the remaining enemy combatants exited the cave, a grenade was thrown amongst the Marines. Cpl Bausell heroically threw himself on the grenade and saved the lives of his fellow Marines.


Cpl Bausell was evacuated to a hospital ship where after three days, on September 18, he succumbed to his wounds. He was buried at sea




For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu Island, Palau Group, September 15, 1944. Valiantly placing himself at the head of his squad, Corporal Bausell led the charge forward against a hostile pillbox which was covering a vital sector of the beach and, as the first to reach the emplacement, immediately started firing his automatic into the aperture while the remainder of his men closed in on the enemy. Swift to act as a Japanese grenade was hurled into their midst, Corporal Bausell threw himself on the deadly weapon, taking the full blast of the explosion and sacrificing his own life to save his men.





Lewis Kenneth Bausell