I’m Staying With My Boys

U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was the only enlisted man in World War II to receive the nation’s two highest awards for valor. Credited with almost single-handedly saving the Allied assault on Guadalcanal, he earned the Medal of Honor for his heroics on the island, and he perished while earning the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions on Iwo Jima. Returning home from Guadalcanal to a hero’s welcome, he did a brief stint as a war bond spokesman before returning to the front, declaring “I’m staying with my boys.”

That inspirational pronouncement is the title of a stirring film about Basilone produced by Jerry Cutter, Edward H. Schaller and Jim Proser. The 45-minute documentary takes you from Basilone’s youth in Raritan, New Jersey, to his training at Quantico, Virginia, and his marriage to fellow Marine Lena Riggi, in addition to his war-time heroics. The story is told through historical photos, narration and interviews with his siblings and fellow Marines.

To buy the DVD, click here.

To buy the book upon which the film is based, click here.

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Felicia Reilly

With nearly three decades of experience in public and special libraries, archives and museums, Felicia Reilly earned a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. She maintained the Passionist Research Center’s website during the beginning of the public’s access to the World Wide Web, later creating and maintaining online web-based finding aids to archival collections at a medical society museum and library. Her family has served in the military, firefighting and police services. She worked in the music business and has been researching Chicago’s music history for many years. She contributed articles and biographies to the Chicago Music Hall of Fame, has written for Fra Noi and was the researcher and author of the biographies and background material showcased in the museum’s Medal of Honor exhibit. She was also a contributor to a music encyclopedia and co-editor of a medical bibliography. She currently manages the Resources page on the website.

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