BORDELON, WILLIAM JAMES
BORDELON, WILLIAM JAMES (1920–1943). William James Bordelon, Medal of Honor recipient, the son of William Jennings and Carmen Josephine (Pereira) Bordelon, was born in San Antonio, Texas, on December 25, 1920. He entered military service at San Antonio on December 10, 1941. On November 20, 1943, Staff Sgt. Bordelon was attached to the Second Marine Division in action against the Japanese on the atoll of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. After landing under enemy fire that killed all but four men in his tractor, he remained in action even after he was hit. He provided cover fire for a group scaling a seawall and, disregarding his own injuries, went to the aid of two wounded men in the water. While attacking a Japanese machine-gun position by himself, he was killed. Sergeant Bordelon's personal valor was a contributing factor in the ultimate occupation of the island. He was initially buried on Tarawa; his body was later moved to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. In 1995 he was returned to his hometown of San Antonio. His body lay in state in the Alamo on the evening of November 19—he was one of only five people to be so honored—the first person in fifty years.The next day on the fifty-second anniversary of his death he was reburied at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Bordelon was the first Texas marine to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II. In 1945 the destroyer USS Bordelon was named in his honor. Other recognitions include San Antonio VFW Post 300 and a section of Interstate Highway 37 between Interstate Highway 35 and Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio, both named for Bordelon.
Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973). Tracy Idell Hamilton, "Part of I-35 will bear name of hero," (http://www.mysanantonio.com/community/southside/San_Antonio_honors_South_Side_WWII_hero.html ), accessed September 13, 2009. "William J. Bordelon, Staff Sergeant, United States Marine Corps" (http://www.marinemedals.com/bordelonwilliam.htm), accessed September 13, 2009.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Art Leatherwood, "BORDELON, WILLIAM JAMES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbosc), accessed December 19, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.