Major General Sidney Sanders McMath
Major General McMath, deceased, Magnolia, U.S. Marine Corp, WWII. Awards include the Distinguished Service Medal for Gallantry in Action, and the Legion of Merit Medal for valor.
Major General McMath was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for combat actions in the South Pacific. The citation reads as follows: For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the Government of the United States as Operations Officer of the Third Marines, Third Marine Division, prior to and during operations against enemy Japanese forces on Bougainvill, Solomon Islands, from 15th September to 17th December 1943. Working tirelessly with superior intelligence and outstanding initiative,Lieutenant Colonel McMath rendered invaluable assistance in organizing and training of the third Marines into an effective combat team. Landing at Empress Augusta Bay on D-Day under hostile fire, he maintained close personal contact with the Frontline troops as they advanced, greatly assisting in coordinating the attack. Receiving information that the Japanese had affected a landing in Koromokina Lagoon on the morning of 7 November 1943, and were attacking our positions on the left flank of the Division Beachhead, Lieutenant Colonel McMath proceeded to the scene and established the advance Regimental Command Post. Exposing himself to hostile fire, he made repeated visits to the forward elements of the command in order to obtain firsthand information of the enemy’s strength and dispositions. When Japanese snipers infiltrated our lines, Lieutenant Colonel McMath gallantly remained in position, rendering sound advice and assistance in the launching of a coordinated attack by infantry, tank, and artillery which resulted in complete annihilation of the enemy force. Again at Piva Forks, from 18 to 26 November 1943, he persevered in his determined efforts to dislodge the fanatic Japanese from their strongly fortified positions. On 24 November, when the Third Marines launched their main effort, he remained at the front despite vicious hand-to-hand fighting all around him. Late that afternoon, when the first phase line had been reached, communication lines severed by mortar fire, and the enemy still fighting desperately to halt the Regiment’s advance, Lieutenant Colonel McMath left the Command Post and proceeded through intense hostile fire to the front lines, obtaining information which enabled the Regimental Commander to formulate orders for continuing tha attack. As the attacking troops approached the new phase line, Japanese resistance came to an end. This successful attack destroyed all enemy opposition to the Empress Augusta Bay Area as an Allied Air base. By his dynamic leadership, indomitable fighting spirit, sound judgment and outstanding professional skill, Lieutenant colonel McMath contributed essentially to the fulfillment of the Regimental mission. His unwavering devotion to duty and conduct throughout sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
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