Rank and organization:   Private First Class, U.S. Army, 307th Infantry,
77th Infantry Division.
Place and date:   legusuku-Yama, Ie Shima, Ryukyu
Islands, 1921 April 1945.
Entered service at:   Phillipsburg, N.J.
G.O. No: 9, 25 January 1946.
Citation:   He gallantly
maintained a 3-day stand in the face of terrible odds when American troops
fought for possession of the rugged slopes of legusuku-Yama on Ie Shima,
Ryukyu Islands. After placing his heavy machinegun in an advantageous yet
vulnerable position on a ridge to support riflemen, he became the target
of fierce mortar and small arms fire from counterattacking Japanese. He
repulsed this assault by sweeping the enemy with accurate bursts while
explosions and ricocheting bullets threw blinding dust and dirt about him.
He broke up a second counterattack by hurling grenades into the midst of
the enemy forces, and then refused to withdraw, volunteering to maintain
his post and cover the movement of American riflemen as they reorganized
to meet any further hostile action. The major effort of the enemy did not
develop until the morning of 21 April. It found Pfc. May still supporting
the rifle company in the face of devastating rifle, machinegun, and mortar
fire. While many of the friendly troops about him became casualties, he
continued to fire his machinegun until he was severely wounded and his
gun rendered useless by the burst of a mortar shell. Refusing to withdraw
from the violent action, he blasted fanatical Japanese troops with hand
grenades until wounded again, this time mortally. By his intrepidity and
the extreme tenacity with which he held firm until death against overwhelming
forces, Pfc. May killed at least 16 Japanese, was largely responsible for
maintaining the American lines, and inspired his comrades to efforts which
later resulted in complete victory and seizure of the mountain stronghold.
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)