HERRING, RUFUS G.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S.
Naval Reserve, LCI (G) 449. Place and date: Iwo Jima, 17 February 1945. Entered
service at: North Carolina. Born: 11 June 1921, Roseboro, N.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty as commanding officer of LCI (G) 449 operating as a unit of LCI (G) Group 8,
during the preinvasion attack on Iwo Jima on 17 February 1945. Boldly closing the strongly
fortified shores under the devastating fire of Japanese coastal defense guns, Lt. (then
Lt. (j.g.)) Herring directed shattering barrages of 40mm. and 20mm. gunfire against
hostile beaches until struck down by the enemy's savage counterfire which blasted the
449's heavy guns and whipped her decks into sheets of flame. Regaining consciousness
despite profuse bleeding he was again critically wounded when a Japanese mortar crashed
the conning station, instantly killing or fatally wounding most of the officers and
leaving the ship wallowing without navigational control. Upon recovering the second time,
Lt. Herring resolutely climbed down to the pilothouse and, fighting against his rapidly
waning strength, took over the helm, established communication with the engineroom, and
carried on valiantly until relief could be obtained. When no longer able to stand, he
propped himself against empty shell cases and rallied his men to the aid of the wounded;
he maintained position in the firing line with his 20mm. guns in action in the face of
sustained enemy fire, and conned his crippled ship to safety. His unwavering fortitude,
aggressive perseverance, and indomitable spirit against terrific odds reflect the highest
credit upon Lt. Herring and uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.