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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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GILLIGAN, Donald. (Dubuque, IA, May 13, 1929--Naperville, IL, Oct. 17, 2013). Recipient, NAVY CROSS. The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Private First Class Donald W. Gilligan (MCSN: 649483), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as an Assistant Gunner in a Heavy Machine Gun Squad attached to Company C, First Battalion, First Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Korea on 27 October 1950.

When intense hostile small-arms and grenade fire caused the death of his squad leader and wounded three squad members including himself, Private First Class Gilligan voluntarily assumed command and, despite severe pain and loss of blood, efficiently reorganized and redeployed the squad. Placing the machine gun in a more advantageous position, he directed accurate and effective fire and succeeded in repelling the vigorous enemy attack.

After obtaining medical treatment for the wounded, he assisted in moving two of the casualties to the rear and, refusing evacuation for himself, returned to his post where he continued to direct and control the fire and movements of his squad throughout the remainder of the night.

By his gallant and aggressive leadership throughout this critical period, he contributed materially to the successful repulse of repeated enemy assaults. His courageous initiative, indomitable fighting spirit and unwavering devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon Private First Class Gilligan and the United States Naval Service.