The Story of Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Part 3

John speaks at a bond rally



Bond Tour

In July of 1943, John was informed that he was being sent home, but there was a catch to it. John would have to go on a “bond drive”. As John loaded up to go home, he told his buddies he would be back, but they did not believe him. His men figured that with his medal, he could get a safe assignment at home for the rest of the war. His home town of Raritan planned a homecoming parade in his honor. It was held on Sunday, September 19th, 1943. The people of the small town of Raritan were amazed that such a big event came their town. There were 30,000 people, including many politicians, numerous celebrities, and the national press. Life Magazine ran a four page story on the parade. Even the Fox Movietone News video taped the event making a newsreel that was shown at movie theatres throughout the country As a hero, John was worshipped and wined and dined. John said that the admiration and attention was appreciated, but he was a soldier, and that he had given his word to his men that he would be back. John officially asked to go back to his men, but was initially denied. He was told that they needed him more on the home front. He was offered a commission (an officer’s job), but he turned it down, saying he was a plain soldier. He was offered a job as an gunnery instructor. To John, these soft, easy assignments did not seem right. He had a strong sense of purpose, and a safe easy job while there was a war going on was not his idea of being a Marine. After a few months he asked again to go back overseas and this time he was granted his wish. For his assignment, Basilone was to report to Camp Pendleton in California to train with a group that was preparing to invade an island in the Pacific. So on December 27th, 1943, John left the easy life of a hero on the home front to return to the soldiers who would soon go back overseas to engage the enemy.



Biography Part 4