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James R Zarillo.jpg

James Rocco Zarillo (5 April 1923 in Orange, New Jersey - Killed in action 1 February 1944 in Namur, Marshall Islands) was a United States Marine Corps Reserve soldier who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroic actions during World War II.

Early life[edit | edit source]

James was born in Orange, New Jersey on April 5, 1923 to Costanzo and Bridget Zarillo. His parents were immigrants from Italy. He also had five brothers and four sisters.

Military Service[edit | edit source]

He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve on September 17, 1942, trained in Boot Camp, and was sent to the Pacific theater with 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division.

Death[edit | edit source]

On February 1, 1944 during the battle of Namur island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands he was killed after he took his machine gun in his arms and daringly launched a lone attack against a Japanese position, destroying it before he was fatally wounded. For this action, he was posthumously the Navy Cross. His body was returned to the United States and buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in East Orange, New Jersey.

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

Navy Cross citation[edit | edit source]

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Private First Class James R. Zarillo (MCSN: 451610), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for extraordinary heroism as a light machine gunner serving with the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division in action against enemy Japanese forces during the battle of Namur island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, 1 February 1944. Directed to bring the fire of his gun on a hostile pillbox which had pinned down his assault team in an exposed position in front of the lines, Private First Class Zarillo attempted to carry out these orders but, due to the nature of the terrain, was unable to fire effectively on the enemy emplacement. With utter disregard for his own personal safety, he took his machine gun in his arms and daringly launched a lone attack against the Japanese position, destroying it before he was fatally wounded. Private First Class Zarillo's valiant spirit of self-sacrifice and extreme bravery were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

References[edit | edit source]

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