The Last Great Battle in the Pacific

On 1 April 1945, U.S. ground forces began the Battle of Okinawa. The objective was to secure the island, thus removing the last barrier standing between U.S. forces and Imperial Japan. With Okinawa firmly in hand, the U.S. military could finally bring its full might upon the Japanese, conducting unchecked strategic air strikes against the Japanese mainland, blockading its logistical lifeline, and establishing forward bases for the final invasion of Japan (Operation Olympic), scheduled for the fall of 1945.

The battle, which went into the month of June, was one of the most ferocious of the war with American casualties reaching a staggering 49,151, of which 12,520 were killed or missing. On an individual basis, 24 service members received the Medal of Honor for actions performed during the Battle of Okinawa. Thirteen went to the Marines and Navy corpsmen, nine to Army troops, and one to a Navy officer.

Forty-three (43) East Tennesseans (see names below) gave their lives during the battle with one, Elbert L. Kinser (Greene County), being awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his valor and intrepidity.


Name Branch County
Ailor, James T. Army/Army Air Forces Knox
Allen, Hugh H. Army/Army Air Forces Sevier
Burleson, John B. Army/Army Air Forces Monroe
Chase, James L. Marine Corps Greene
Chastain, Houston Marine Corps Sullivan
Cline, Athel J. Army/Army Air Forces Claiborne
Cockrum, James A. Marine Corps Knox
Coffman, John K. Marine Corps Roane
Cole Jr., Allen W. Marine Corps Sevier
Colquitt, Herbert R. Navy Knox
Crowder, Hubert W. Army/Army Air Forces Monroe
Fleenor, Joseph I. Marine Corps Sullivan
Goforth, Ernest P. Army/Army Air Forces Roane
Harris Jr., J. D. Navy Hamilton
Hill, Abraham L. Marine Corps Blount
Hoover, Owen E. Marine Corps Knox
Kennedy, James C. Army/Army Air Forces Knox
Kinser, Elbert L. Marine Corps Greene
Kreis, William W. Army/Army Air Forces Hamblen
Leonard, Woodrow Marine Corps Monroe
Levi, Eddie L. Army/Army Air Forces Hamilton
Long, Clarence W. Army/Army Air Forces Hamilton
Mannon, George Army/Army Air Forces Hamilton
McCurry, Richard P. Marine Corps Knox
McDaniel Jr., C. J. Army/Army Air Forces Knox
Miller, Cyrel E. Marine Corps Roane
Monds, Jerry S. Navy Hamilton
Moore, J.C. Army/Army Air Forces Roane
Mynatt, James P. Navy Knox
Owens, Kenneth H. Marine Corps Blount
Palmer, Elbridge W. Army/Army Air Forces Sullivan
Patterson, Eather E. Army/Army Air Forces Blount
Poe, John J. Marine Corps Hamilton
Prince, Hugh P. Navy Unicoi
Ray, Raymond F. Marine Corps McMinn
Romines, Robert S. Army/Army Air Forces Hamilton
Sharp Jr., Floyd J. Army/Army Air Forces Knox
Stokley, Ernest M. Navy Greene
Thompson, George E. Army/Army Air Forces Roane
Vickers, Harold L. Army/Army Air Forces Hamblen
Waters, Charles E. Army/Army Air Forces Johnson
Wileman, Mack W. Army/Army Air Forces Marion
Wolfenbarger, Theodore Navy Knox