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Private Junior Van Noy
US Army, 532nd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment
Headquarters Company, Shore Battalion

Click For EnlargementBackground
Nathan K. Van Noy, Jr. (Junior Van Noy) was born on August 9, 1924 in Grace, Idaho. Brought up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During February 1943, he joined the Army from Preston, Idaho during February 1943.

Wartime History
At age 19, assigned to the Headquarters Company of Shore Battalion, 532nd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment. On October 17, 1943 at Scarlet Beach north of Finschafen, Private Van Noy manned a machine gun during a predawn landing by three Japanese barges loaded with enemy troops.

One barge was sunk, but the other two landed only ten yards from Van Noy's position and he opened fire on the unloading troops. He and his loader was wounded by a grenade and evacuated, but Van Noy remained at his post and continued firing until all his ammunition was expended. He died from multiple wounds and was found after the battle dead beside his gun. A total of 39 Japanese were killed, with at least half credited to Van Noy's gun.

Memorials
Van Noy's body was recovered and postwar he was permanently buried at Grace Cemetery in Grace, Idaho.

Medal of Honor Citation (February 26, 1944)
Citation"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Finschafen, New Guinea, on October 17, 1943. When wounded late in September, Pvt. Van Noy declined evacuation and continued on duty. On October 17, 1943 he was gunner in charge of a machinegun post only 5 yards from the water's edge when the alarm was given that 3 enemy barges loaded with troops were approaching the beach in the early morning darkness. One landing barge was sunk by Allied fire, but the other 2 beached 10 yards from Pvt. Van Noy's emplacement. Despite his exposed position, he poured a withering hail of fire into the debarking enemy troops. His loader was wounded by a grenade and evacuated. Pvt. Van Noy, also grievously wounded, remained at his post, ignoring calls of nearby soldiers urging him to withdraw, and continued to fire with deadly accuracy. He expended every round and was found, covered with wounds dead beside his gun. In this action Pvt. Van Noy killed at least half of the 39 enemy taking part in the landing. His heroic tenacity at the price of his life not only saved the lives of many of his comrades, but enabled them to annihilate the attacking detachment."

References
FindAGrave - Nathan K. Van Noy, Jr (photos)

 

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