Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

American Valor
Stories of Valor
History of the Medal
About the Broadcast
For Teachers
Mitchell PaigeMitchell Paige

Born: August 31, 1918
Charleroi, Pennsylvania

War: World War II

Rank: Platoon Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps

Location of action: Solomon Islands

Date of action: October 26, 1942

Received from:

Official Citation:
For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area on October 26, 1942. When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, Platoon Sergeant Paige, commanding a machine-gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct fire of his gunners until all of his men were either killed or wounded.

Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he manned his gun, and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire against the advancing hordes until reinforcements finally arrived. Then, forming a new line, he dauntlessly and aggressively led a bayonet charge, driving the enemy back and preventing a breakthrough in our lines. His great personal valor and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Colonel Mitchell Paige is the sole surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the ground battle for Guadalcanal, America’s first ground offensive of World War II. Paige enlisted in the Marine Corps in September 1936, and he went to recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Paige has held practically every rank and assignment in a Marine Corps Infantry battalion, from private to commanding officer. He received a Field Commission from platoon sergeant to second lieutenant at Guadalcanal in December 1942. His field experience has taken him to Cape Gloucester, China, Cuba, Guadalcanal, Japan, Korea, New Britain Island, New Guinea, Pavuvu, the Philippines, the Russell Islands, the Solomon Islands and Vietnam.

After retirement in July 1964, Paige researched and developed miniature rockets, miniature rocket weapons systems, penetration aids, and hypervelocity acceleration. He assisted in the design and development of a four-inch rocket launcher capable of firing 13mm gyro-jet flares, smoke, radar chaff and explosive rounds while work’ing at MB Associates Science and Rocketry in San Ramon, California. He used the 13mm hand gun and 13mm Foliage Penetrating Signal Distress Kit in combat in Vietnam in 1967, with orders from President Johnson. Paige was involved in research and development of air-inflated devices and related recovery equipment. He invented the “TUPIT” (The Universal Paige Inflatable Tent),which he donated to the Army laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts.

Paige is the author of an autobiography, “A Marine Named Mitch,” published in 1975, and he is a member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Army and Navy Legion of Valor, Military Order of the Purple Heart, First Marine Division Association, Marine Corps League, British Royal Marines, Guadalcanal Campaign Veterans, National Order of Battlefield Commissions, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, AMVETS, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Naval Order of the United States, and the Marine Corps Mustang Association.

Paige was “special ambassador,” representing the president, with the United States State Department in the Solomon Islands, at the 10th anniversary celebrating Guadalcanal’s independence. He is the liaison officer from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to the FBI and works with an assigned special agent exposing Medal of Honor imposters.

Further information:

Watch video clip of Mitchell Paige.

©2003 GWETA