The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*POYNTER, JAMES I.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S.
Marine Corps Reserve, Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place
and date: Near Sudong, Korea, 4 November 1950. Entered service at: Downey,
Calif. Born: 1 December 1916, Bloomington, Ill.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty while serving as a squad leader in a rifle platoon of Company A, in action
against enemy aggressor forces during the defense of Hill 532, south of Sudong, Korea.
When a vastly outnumbering, well-concealed hostile force launched a sudden, vicious
counterattack against his platoon's hasty defensive position, Sgt. Poynter displayed
superb skill and courage in leading his squad and directing its fire against the onrushing
enemy. With his ranks critically depleted by casualties and he himself critically wounded
as the onslaught gained momentum and the hostile force surrounded his position, he seized
his bayonet and engaged in bitter hand-to-hand combat as the breakthrough continued.
Observing 3 machineguns closing in at a distance of 25 yards, he dashed from his position
and, grasping handgrenades from fallen marines as he ran, charged the emplacements in
rapid succession, killing the crews of 2 and putting the other out of action before he
fell, mortally wounded. By his self-sacrificing and valiant conduct, Sgt. Poynter inspired
the remaining members of his squad to heroic endeavor in bearing down upon and repelling
the disorganized enemy, thereby enabling the platoon to move out of the trap to a more
favorable tactical position. His indomitable fighting spirit, fortitude, and great
personal valor maintained in the face of overwhelming odds sustain and enhance the finest
traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.