Elbert Luther Kinser

Kinser was born October 21, 1922, in Greeneville, TN, where he worked on the family farm until entering the Marines.

Leading a Rifle Platoon with Company I, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Kinser and his platoon were holding newly won positions on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain. On May 4, 1945, while moving up a strategic ridge, Kinser and his platoon fell under sudden, close attack by hostile troops entrenched on the opposite slope. Kinser engaged the enemy in a fierce hand grenade battle.

Quick to act when a Japanese grenade landed in his immediate vicinity, Kinser unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the full charge of the shattering explosion in his own body, protecting his men from serious injury and possible death. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had yielded his own chance of survival that his comrades might live to carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His courage, cool decision and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.