William G. Walsh Playground
The William G. Walsh Playground at Washington Street and Clancy Street was dedicated in his honor in 1951. See The Boston Globe, May 12, 1951.
No. 22712 William Gary Walsh
William Gary Walsh – Gunnery Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
January 17, 2023 by Michael Robert Patterson
Born in Massachusetts, April 7, 1922, he earned the Medal of Honor while serving in the South Pacific with the 5th Marine Division. He was on Iwo Jima on February 27, 1945, advancing toward Hill 362 when his company was attacked by machine gun fire. He led an assault against the enemy position and was killed when a grenade fell in the midst of his unit. His citation reads in part:
“Gunnery Sergeant Walsh in a final valiant act of complete self-sacrifice, instantly threw himself upon the deadly bomb, absorbing with his own body the full and terrific force of the explosion. Through his extraordinary valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved his comrades from injury and possible loss of life and enabled his company to seize and hold this vital enemy position.”
His brother, Army Chaplain Cormac Walsh, a Franciscan Priest, won four Silver Stars and a Presidential Citation for aiding wounded troops while under heavy enemy fire in Korea. Their father, a Boston fireman, died while saving people from a burning building.
Sergeant Walsh was subsequently buried with full military honors in Section 12, Grave 487, of Arlington National Cemetery.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant William G. Walsh, native of Roxbury, Massachusetts, threw himself on a hand grenade to save the lives of other Marines at the loss of his own life, during the epic struggle for Iwo Jima. For this heroic act, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis A. Walsh, of Roxbury, Sergeant Walsh attended public schools in Boston before enlisting in the Marine Corps in April, 1942. He received his basic or boot training at Parris Island, South Carolina, and advanced training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
From Camp Lejeune, he went to Samoa and was assigned to a unit of Marine Scouts. His next assignment was with the famed Carlson’s Raiders. During this nation’s war with Japan in the Pacific, the gunnery sergeant saw action at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, and in the Russell Islands.
Following two years of service in the Pacific theatre, he returned to the United States. He returned overseas later with the 5th Marine Division in time for the Iwo Jima invasion but during the interval in the U.S., he married Mary Louiso Ponrod, a former member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.
It was at Iwo, while loading his men against a fortified hill on February 27, 1945, that the incident occurred which took his life but won for him the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.
Initially buried the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima, GySgt Walsh’s remains were later reinterred in Arlington National’ Cemetery on April 20, 1948.