Atkins, James Richard, Sgt

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 Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
1814-Tank Commander
Last MOSGroup
Tank / Amphibious Tractor
Primary Unit
1942-1943, 1812, 2nd Tank Bn
Service Years
1937 - 1943


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 Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Edson Franklin Bellis to remember Marine Sgt James Richard Atkins.

If you knew or served with this Marine and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Lone Pine
Last Address
Wife, Mrs. James R. Atkins
Wellington, New Zealand.

Casualty Date
Nov 20, 1943
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Not Specified
Location of Interment
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section Q Grave 765

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenWWII Memorial National Registry
  1943, World War II Fallen
  2015, WWII Memorial National Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Rifle Expert (Pre 1959)USMC Basic Qualification Badge

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1937, Boot Camp (San Diego, CA)
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
MARDET (Afloat)1st Bn, 6th Marine Regiment (1/6)Marine Barracks Mare Island, CAMarForRes
2nd Tank Bn
  1937-1938, 0311, MARDET USS Yorktown (CV-5)
  1938-1940, 0311, H&S Co, 1st Bn, 6th Marine Regiment (1/6)
  1940-1941, 0311, Marine Barracks Mare Island, CA
  1941-1942, 0311, MARTD NAS Seattle WA
  1942-1943, 1812, 2nd Tank Bn
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/American Theater
  1942-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 Gilbert Islands Operation (1943)/Battle of Tarawa
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
A small coral island in the Central Pacific, the island of Betio of Tarawa Atoll. Our readers are generally familiar with the over-all picture of the attack on Tarawa, how after many bombings and bombardments, battalions of the second Marine Division began making landings on the lagoon shore of Betio Island. They have read of the heavy losses that the units suffered in making their way in to the beach and getting a foothold along the north shore of the island. This, of course, also took the highest order of courage, facing the losses which they sustained and still keeping on and affecting the landing in the face of murderous fire. But we are concerned here more particularly with the kind of fighting that took place on the landing beach and in driving the enemy from his strongholds as exemplified by a few gallant Marines, most of whom, in addition to many others, will in clue time be given recognition in official citations. The individuals mentioned are only typical but were picked out by their commanders; many others who performed similar deeds, known only by their intimate comrades or themselves, played equally important parts in the winning of this decisive victory which helped to open the way for a deeper thrust into the Japanese controlled areas of the Western Pacific. While the heroic individuals mentioned below were performing outstanding deeds of heroism and helping to gradually overcome the resistance of the enemy, they were given every possible support by naval gunfire, occasional bombing missions, and above all, as constant a flow of reinforcements, as much ammunitions and supplies as could be gotten to them under the difficult situation of bringing it across the reef and reaching a beach swept by enemy fire. The ultimate success of their fighting was made possible by this support given them by their higher command and supporting forces. For courage and effective leadership, the actions of Sergeant James R. Atkins have scarcely ever been excelled. While a member of the second Tank Battalion reconnaissance party which laid a lane of channel markers over a shell- and bomb-pocked coral reef for a distance of 1200 yards, Atkins, when the channel markers were swept away, made himself a human channel marker, during which time he was under heavy enemy fire. After the tanks were safely guided to the beach, he volunteered to lead tanks inland through our own infantry lines. he led the tanks well within the enemy lines daringly and courageously working his way forward under extremely heavy enemy fire and pointed out targets to the tanks.

ATKINS, James R., Sgt., USMC. Father, Mr. Richard L. Atkins, Lonepine, Mont (Wife, Mrs. James R. Atkins, Wellington, New Zealand.) + ATKINS, James Richard, 258484, H&SCo, 2ndTkBn, 2ndMarDiv, FMF, Gilbert Is, November 23, 1943, killed in action
Silver Star
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant James R. Atkins (MCSN: 258484), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a member of the Second Tank Battalion Reconnaissance Party attached to the Second Tank Battalion, SECOND Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, 20 November 1943. Defying constant danger from enemy machine gun and mortar fire while assisting his unit in laying a 1,200-yard lane of channel markers over a shell and bomb-pocked coral reef, Sergeant Atkins valiantly made of himself a human marker in order to signal assault tanks to a successful landing on the beachhead when the floats were carried away by the heavy surf. Then, in the face of almost certain death, he voluntarily pressed forward and conducted a reconnaissance within enemy lines, pointing out targets which could not have been detected from within the tanks and continuing his courageous efforts until he was killed by hostile fire. His relentless fighting spirit, daring aggressiveness and heroic self-sacrifice directly contributed to the success of our forces in that area and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Action Date: November 20, 1943
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