RAIDERS Antonelli, John William

Element of Surprise
By Darryl Young
No Guts, No Glory
By Jim Bolen

John Robertson

Staff member
John William
  • UNIT
1 Raider Bn (Company B)
  • RANK
Navy Cross
Iwo Jima 1945
born in 30.05.1917, Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA
years of service 1940-1968
rank Brigadier General
Purple Heart
Navy Cross
Legion Of Merit
wife Lillian M. (nee Ferrera) Antonelli (1920-1992)
2 sons (John W. Jr. (1949-2017), James R.), 2 daughters (Lois M. Howe, Karen M. Cook)
died 26.03.1999 (81 years old) Norwood, Massachusetts
buried Westwood Cemetery, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Memorial ID 192930494
John W. Antonelli of Westwood, a highly decorated World War II veteran, died Friday [March 26, 1999]. He was 81.
Born in Lawrence, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in 1940. He was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant. He reported for duty with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, later designated the 1st Raider Battalion.
With the Raiders, he embarked for duty overseas in April 1942. In May, he was promoted to captain. He served as a company commander at Tulagi, Guadalcanal and Savo Island.
As a major, he became commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division. He led the battalion during the Iwo Jima campaign, where he earned the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism and the Purple Heart during battles from Feb. 19 to March 16, 1945.
He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in May 1945 and later took part in the occupation of Japan.
After the war, he served as executive officer of the Marine barracks in Boston until June 1947. He then began a three-year assignment as instructor and midshipman battalion officer at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
In July 1950, he was assigned to the staff of the commander, Cruisers Atlantic, operating in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. He was subsequently assigned to the senior course, Marine Corps Schools in Quantico, Va., graduated in May 1953.
Brig. Gen. Antonelli served many tours of duty. He assumed command of the 4th Marine Regiment at Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, from 1959-1961. He was at the National War College in Washington, D.C., and was then assigned to the J-3 Directorate, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, until April 1964.
Husband of the late Lillian (Ferrera), Gen. Antonelli is survived by two sons, John W. Jr. and James R., both of Norton; two daughters, Lois M. Howe of Westwood and Karen M. Cook of Kingston; three sisters, Christina Loffredo of Newport, R.I., and Constance Ippolito and Jane Wilson, both of Andover; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.


Navy Cross : The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Major John William Antonelli (MCSN: 0-6450), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the Second Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese Forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, from 19 February to 16 March 1945. On 9 March, when the attack of his Battalion was stopped by extremely heavy enemy fire, Major Antonelli fearlessly worked his way over fire-swept ground to a small knoll forward of his front lines to make a reconnaissance. Although severely wounded while on this mission, he refused to be evacuated until he had completed his reconnaissance and issued the necessary orders for the resumption of the attack. After being sent to a field hospital, Major Antonelli voluntarily returned to his Command Post under a heavy shelling and resumed command of his Battalion, remaining with it until ordered back to the hospital by his Commanding Officer. A day later, he again joined his men and led them until evacuated from the island on 16 March, to prevent further infection of his wounds. His inspiring leadership and indomitable fighting spirit reflect the highest credit upon Major Antonelli and the United States Naval Service.


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