Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps.
Birth: 28 March 1922,
Accredited to: Pennsylvania.
Citation: For conspicuous
gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty while serving with an assault company in action against enemy
Japanese forces on Engebi Island, Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, on
the night of 1920 February 1944. Highly vulnerable to sudden attack by
small, fanatical groups of Japanese still at large despite the efficient
and determined efforts of our forces to clear the area, Cpl. Damato lay
with 2 comrades in a large foxhole in his company's defense perimeter which
had been dangerously thinned by the forced withdrawal of nearly half of
the available men. When 1 of the enemy approached the foxhole undetected
and threw in a hand grenade, Cpl. Damato desperately groped for it in the
darkness. Realizing the imminent peril to all 3 and fully aware of the
consequences of his act, he unhesitatingly flung himself on the grenade
and, although instantly killed as his body absorbed the explosion, saved
the lives of his 2 companions. Cpl. Damato's splendid initiative, fearless
conduct and valiant sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself and the
U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)