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William Robert Caddy
Born (1925-08-08)August 8, 1925
Died March 3, 1945(1945-03-03) (aged 19)
Place of birth Quincy, Massachusetts
Place of death KIA on Iwo Jima
Place of burial initially the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima
later reinterred in the U.S. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific Honolulu, Hawaii
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1943-1945
Rank Private First Class
Unit 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines

World War II

Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Private First Class William Robert Caddy, (August 8, 1925 – March 3, 1945) was a United States Marine who sacrificed his life to save the lives of his platoon leader and platoon sergeant during the Battle of Iwo Jima. For his bravery, he posthumously received his nation's highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor. He was the 72nd Marine of World War II to receive this honor.

Caddy dropped out of high school after 2 years and worked giving most of his earnings to his mother before being drafted in the Marine Corps in 1943. He attended training and was sent overseas to the Pacific Theatre of World War II aboard the USS Arthur Middleton. After the Middleton he went to Hawaii for training and then went to Iwo Jima aboard the USS Darke (APA-159). For the next 12 days he fought with his unit on the island until he was killed March 3, 1945 when an enemy grenade landed near him and he sacrificed himself by smothering the blast with his body.

Early yearsEdit

William Robert Caddy was born on August 8, 1925 in Quincy, Massachusetts and attended the schools of Quincy until high school. During high school he was selected to the schools varsity baseball team but he left school after his second year. He worked as a helper on a milkman's truck for a while and gave most of his $25 a week pay over to his mother.[1]

Marine Corps serviceEdit

Caddy was inducted into the United States Marine Corps through the Selective Service system on October 27, 1943 and was put on inactive duty until November 10, 1943 when he was ordered to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, for recruit training. While attending recruit training Caddy received training on several weapons in use at the time including the Reising sub-machine gun, Browning automatic rifle, M-1 carbine, bayonet and the hand grenade. When it came time to qualify with the service rifle he fired a score of 305 with qualifying him as a sharpshooter.[1]

Following his ten-day recruit furlough, PFC Caddy reported into the Special Weapons Group, Base Artillery Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for instruction in the Twenty millimeter anti-aircraft gun. Upon the successful completion of the course, in which his rating was "good", Caddy was assigned to a rifle company in the new 5th Marine Division which was then forming. His unit was Company I, 3rd Battalion, 28th Marines. After extensive training in North Carolina the new division shipped overland to San Diego where, on July 22, 1944, PFC Caddy headed overseas to the Pacific theatre on the USS Arthur Middleton (APA-25).[1] He participated in further training at Hilo, Hawaii, where the 5th Division encamped for five months. On January 5, 1945, rifleman Caddy boarded an attack transport, the USS Darke for the island of Iwo Jima.[1]

Landing against fierce opposition, PFC Caddy went through the fighting on Iwo Jima for 12 days. On March 3, 1945, he, along with his platoon leader and his acting platoon sergeant, were advancing against shattering Japanese machine-gun and small arms fire in an isolated sector. Seeking temporary refuge from the assault, the three Marines dropped into a shell hole where they were immediately pinned down by a well-concealed enemy sniper. After several unsuccessful attempts to advance further, the 19 year-old Marine and his lieutenant, Ott C. Farris, engaged in a furious hand grenade battle with the defending Japanese. When an enemy grenade landed in their hole, PFC Caddy immediately covered it with his body and absorbed the deadly fragments.[1]

The Medal of Honor was presented to his mother at ceremonies on the Montclair School lawn (which the Marine had formerly attended) on September 8, 1946 by Rear Admiral Morton L. Deyo, Commandant of the First Naval District. Among those present were the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, the Mayor of Quincy, and the United States Congressman from that district.[1]

Private First Class Caddy was initially buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima and was later reinterred in the U.S. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1948.[1][2] His grave can be found in Section C, Grave 81[3]

Medal of Honor citationEdit

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman with Company I, Third Battalion, Twenty-sixth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 3 March 1945. Consistently aggressive, Private First Class Caddy boldly defied shattering Japanese machine-gun and small-arms fire to move forward with his platoon leader and another Marine during a determined advance of his company through an isolated sector and, gaining the comparative safety of a shell hole, took temporary cover with his comrades. Immediately pinned down by deadly sniper fire from a well-concealed position, he made several unsuccessful attempts to again move forward and then, joined by his platoon leader, engaged the enemy in a fierce exchange of hand grenades until a Japanese grenade fell in the shell hole. Fearlessly disregarding all personal danger, Private First Class Caddy instantly threw himself upon the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and protecting the others from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, he unhesitatingly yielded his own life that his fellow Marines might carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His dauntless courage and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflects the highest credit upon Private First Class Caddy and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.[4]


Posthumous honorsEdit

The Marine Corps League's detachment #124, the William R. Caddy Detachment (Quincy, Massachusetts), was named in honor of the Marine Corps' Medal of Honor recipient in 1946.[2][5]

In October 1963, Treasure Island Park in Quincy was renamed "P.F.C. William R. Caddy Memorial Park."[2][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Private First Class William Robert Caddy". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Private First Class William R. Caddy, USMCR", (1925-1945), NHC, 2006.
  3. "William R. Caddy". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  4. "Medal of Honor —PFC William R. Caddy (Medal of Honor citation)", Marines Awarded the Medal of Honor.
  5. MCL William R. Caddy Detachment (URL retrieved April 28, 2006)
  6. "P.F.C. William R. Caddy Memorial Park - Quincy, MA". Specific Veteran Memorials. Retrieved January 24, 2007. 
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