Our "Medal of Honor" series explores the stories behind the courageous Pennsylvania veterans who have been awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor for their exemplary service in the United States military. In this entry, we recognize the achievements of George R. Benjamin, Jr., who received the Medal of Honor on June 28, 1945.
Benjamin was born in Philadelphia, and later moved to New Jersey. After graduating from Woodbury High School in Woodbury, New Jersey, he joined the Army from nearby Carneys Point in August 1943. By December 21, 1944, Benjamin was serving in the Philippines as a private first class with Company A of the 306th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division.
On December 21, 1944, Pfc. Benjamin was a radio operator, advancing in the rear of his company as it engaged a well-defended Japanese strong point holding up the progress of the entire battalion. When a rifle platoon supporting a light tank hesitated in its advance, he voluntarily and with utter disregard for personal safety left his comparatively secure position and ran across bullet-whipped terrain to the tank, waving and shouting to the men of the platoon to follow. Carrying his bulky radio and armed only with a pistol, he fearlessly penetrated intense machine gun and rifle fire to the enemy position. He killed one of the enemy in a foxhole and moved on to annihilate the crew of a light machine gun. Heedless of the terrific fire now concentrated on him, he continued to spearhead the assault, killing two more of the enemy and exhorting the other men to advance, until he fell mortally wounded. After being evacuated to an aid station, his first thought was still of the American advance. Overcoming great pain, he called for the battalion operations officer to report the location of enemy weapons and valuable tactical information he had secured in his heroic charge. The unwavering courage, the unswerving devotion to the task at hand, the aggressive leadership of Pfc. Benjamin were a source of great and lasting inspiration to his comrades and were to a great extent responsible for the success of the battalion's mission.