Rank and organization:   Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps.
Birth:   25 April 1897,
Appointed from:   Vermont.
Other Navy awards:   Navy Cross with
Gold Star, Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit with Gold Star.
For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond
the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion,
with Parachute Battalion attached, during action against enemy Japanese
forces in the Solomon Islands on the night of 1314 September 1942. After
the airfield on Guadalcanal had been seized from the enemy on 8 August,
Col. Edson, with a force of 800 men, was assigned to the occupation and
defense of a ridge dominating the jungle on either side of the airport.
Facing a formidable Japanese attack which, augmented by infiltration, had
crashed through our front lines, he, by skillful handling of his troops,
successfully withdrew his forward units to a reserve line with minimum
casualties. When the enemy, in a subsequent series of violent assaults,
engaged our force in desperate hand-to-hand combat with bayonets, rifles,
pistols, grenades, and knives, Col. Edson, although continuously exposed
to hostile fire throughout the night, personally directed defense of the
reserve position against a fanatical foe of greatly superior numbers. By
his astute leadership and gallant devotion to duty, he enabled his men,
despite severe losses, to cling tenaciously to their position on the vital
ridge, thereby retaining command not only of the Guadalcanal airfield,
but also of the 1st Division's entire offensive installations in the surrounding
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)