US Marine Private First Class Edward J. Ross of Albany, N.Y., aged 19, "flirted with death and got away with it" in the early stages of the Cape Gloucester action on New Britain Island, New Guinea, December 1943. (armed with a M1903 rifle)
Making his way to the top of a Japanese pillbox, he threw two grenades into the opening to knock out a machine gun.
Silver Star award citation: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Private First Class Edward J. Ross (MCSN: 343025), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving with the 1st Marine Division during action against enemy Japanese forces on Cape Gloucester, New Britain Island, on 26 and 28 December 1943. One of six men to follow a tank in an assault against an entrenched enemy pillbox, Private First Class Ross, courageously braving a constant hail of intense hostile fire, crawled to the entrance of the emplacement on three separate occasions and threw in hand grenades, thereby completely neutralizing the Japanese position and clearing the way for the further advance of our forces. Gallantly risking his life again on 28 December he effectively covered a patrol with an automatic rifle and through his expert marksmanship killed several of the enemy. Private First Class Ross's valiant fighting spirit, great personal bravery and outstanding devotion to duty in the face of grave peril contributed to the saving of many lives and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The U.S. Marines were initially armed with M1903 rifles in early battles in the Pacific, such as the Battle of Guadalcanal, but the jungle battle environment generally favored self-loading rifles. Later Army units arriving to the island were armed with the M1 Garand. (Edward J. Ross Jr. Oct. 25, 1924 - Apr. 25, 2001) (Photo source - US National Archives and Records Administration) (Colorized by Craig Kelsay from the USA)