It’s World War II, and you’ve got this absolute legend named John Basilone serving as a sergeant in the US Marine Corps. 

Born in 1916 in Buffalo, New York, this guy isn’t just a regular soldier. He’s a one-person army, the real-life action hero you’d expect to find in a Hollywood movie.

Basilone in 1943 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

John Basilone was the kind of man who walked into a battlefield with courage as his shield and determination as his weapon. He was so exceptional that he was the only enlisted Marine to earn both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross during the entire war. These are the military’s top honors, mind you.

What you’re about to read isn’t your average war story, and Basilone isn’t your average hero. He’s the epitome of bravery, the kind of guy who’d fight a thousand battles and still sign up for one more. 

We will delve into the life of John Basilone, the true embodiment of an American hero and an inspiration for every person in and out of uniform.

The Man

John Basilone popped into the world on November 4, 1916, in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in a packed house with his Italian immigrant parents and nine siblings. Growing up with that many kids, you learn to stand your ground quickly.

When he was a teenager, his family moved to Raritan, New Jersey. By then, John had started showing his knack for being a protector. He was a tough kid with a heart of gold. 

He wasn’t afraid to step in if someone needed help – the sort of guy who’d give you his last dollar if you needed it more than him.