Bennie Maurice Bunn, World War II CasualtyPorter County Data on World War II Casualties . . . .

Bennie Maurice Bunn
First Lieutenant, Company B, 1st Raider Battalion, US Marine Corps
Date of Death: July 10, 1943
Burial: Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (Section M, Site 224), San Diego, California
Cause of Death: Killed in Action (New Georgia Island, Solomon Islands)
Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Expeditionary Medal, Medal of Merit
Hometown: Valparaiso

Newspaper Notices:

South Pacific Marine Camp Is Named For War Hero Son Of Local Woman

Somewhere in the South Pacific where marine raiders are trained for jungle warfare against the Japs is Camp Bunn.

It is named in honor of Lieutenant Bennie C. Bunn, son of Mrs. Florence M. Wayne, 302 Jefferson street, Valparaiso. Lt. Bunn was killed in action July 10, 1943 on New George Island in the British Solomon group.

Word of the high honor accorded he son has been received by Mrs. Wayne from Lieut. Bunn's wife, Mrs. Mercedes C. Bunn of Los Angeles, Calif. She was apprised of the news by Lt. Col. L. W. Nickerson, USMC.

The action was taken by officers and men of Lieut. Bunn's command in honor of the courageous conduct in the battle in which he paid the supreme sacrifice, Lt. Col. Nickerson said.

It was while leading a sortie of the First Marine raiders in the battle of Enogal, above Munda, that Lt. Bunn lost his life.

According to an official report of the skirmish, Japanese machine gunners were dug in at the top of a coral bluff and U. S. Marine Raiders were being thrown back repeatedly with heavy losses trying to take the position.

Though not under orders to advance against the strongly intrenched Japs, Lt. Bunn, veteran of 16 years, took some grenades and a tommy gun, and telling the other men to cover him as best they could, climbed straight up the slippery bluff.

Half way up a Jap bullet clipped him, and by the time he reached the top he was wounded many times. But his tommy gun and grenades took that position.

His body was carried down the slope by comrades and he was interred in a grave in the military cemetery in the locality where death occurred.

Lt. Bunn was a marine for 17 years. He was a member of the Marine Patrol in Nicarauga in 1932; served with the Leathernecks in Shanghai, China, and was aboard the USS Augusta when that vessel made her trial runs and shakedown cruise.

He was awarded the Navy Cross while fighting bandits in Nicarauga, for breaking up an attack single-handed. Grabbing a Thompson sub-machine gun from a native soldier he walked into the attacking force punctuating his advance with well directed outbursts of fire. Then of the 46 bandits were killed and the rest broke and ran. He also held the Expeditionary Medal and Medal of Merit.

Lt. Bunn was an expert rifle shot and in Marine Corps rifle matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio, ranked sixth among 982 contestants.

Mrs. Wayne also has a grandson, Pfc. Evan Bunn, in the Marine service. He was stationed in the Philippines, and was captured at Corregidor when that American stronghold capitulated to the Japanese. He is now a prisoner of war of the Japanese.

[Note: Camp Bunn was located east of the railway near Tamiki Station in Tamaki, North Island, New Zealand, now a suburb of the city of Auckland. The camp was a motor vehicle and military supply dump, which doubled as a place where soldiers could rest between duties. At the end of the war there was a housing shortage in New Zealand, so Camp Bunn became a transitional camp for the temporary homeless and for families waiting for a state house. The Camp was closed in 1961.]
Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; April 6, 1944; Volume 17, Page 1, Columns 1 to 3

Award Citations

Distinguished Service Cross
Awarded for actions during the World War II
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant Bennie M. Bunn (MCSN: 0-212871), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with the FIRST Marine Raider Battalion in action against the enemy on New Georgia Island, British Solomon Islands, on 10 July 1943. When the leading assault elements of his company were held up by a strong enemy position, the defense of which was built around one heavy and three light machine guns supported by riflemen, Lieutenant Bunn, calling to four Marines near him, led a charge to a position close to the heavy machine gun. With grenades and pistol fire he killed the crew and captured the gun. He then turned the captured weapon against the other machine guns and neutralized their fire so effectively that they were quickly captured by the members of his squad. His bold and rapid action completely disorganized the enemy position and permitted the company to continue its advance.
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: First Lieutenant

Navy Cross
Awarded for actions during the Second Nicaraguan Campaign
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Corporal Bennie M. Bunn (MCSN: 212871), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while a member of a patrol of Guardia Nacional in contact with a bandit group at Punta Rieles, Nicaragua, on 26 December 1932. The patrol while on a train proceeding to El Sauce was attacked by a vastly superior force of bandits. Corporal Bunn, in command of the right flank, met an enveloping attack of the heavily reinforced bandit group, armed himself with a Thompson sub-machine gun, and by the effectiveness of his fire, personal bravery, aggressiveness and skillful leadership, repulsed the attack. During the entire engagement his conduct was outstanding, and beyond the ordinary call of duty. His efficient leadership and courageous action contributed largely to the success of the engagement.
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Corporal

Return to List of Porter County World War II Casualties

Information abstracted and transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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