Three Silver Stars and a direct commission


Special Forces
Verified SOF
Apr 11, 2010
monterey, ca
Major Eugene "Buck" Ambrosia​

Buck was a Marine's MARINE though and through. He enlisted in the Marines out of high school in 1937 for four years. He was trained at Camp Pendleton and transferred to the 4th Marine Division in China. Buck eventually made corporal and when his enlistment was up he boarded a ship bound for Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

In those days, the rank stayed with the unit so Buck was made to mark out his stenciled corporal stipes when the ship sailed. After being at sea for 90+ days, Buck reached his actual discharge date and was made to change into civilian clothing. A few days later the captain of the ship called Ambrosia into his cabin and explained the Roosevelt had extended all enlistments so Buck was back in the Marine Corps.

After landing at Pearl Harbor and having to pull all sorts of menial duties as a private, Ambrosia was given orders to the San Diego Recruit Depot to be a drill sergeant (Gunnery Sergeant). Buck sailed into San Diego and trained boot Marines for 6 months. He then was assigned to combat duty in the Pacific and fought at Tarawa, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Ambrosia was awarded a Silver Star on Iwo Jima.

Fast foreward to Korea. Ambrosia was still a Gunnery Sergeant when his unit was attacked by Chinese soldiers at the Choson Reservior. He had all of the dead Marines loaded onto ducean a halves and was walking next to the lead 2 1/2 truck when General Ridgeway stopped him. He asked buck who the ranking man was and Buck answered that it was him. Ridgeway asked where all of the officers were and Ambrosia answered that they were all dead.

General Ridgeway then told Buck that he was going to award him a Silver Star and give him a direct commision to captain. Ridgeway had his aide take off his captains bar and Ridgeway pinned it on the collar of Buck's parka.

Approximately three mile down the road the convoy was stopped again, this time by Marine General "Chesty" Puller who asked a lot of the same questions that General Ridgeway had asked. Buck asked General Puller if the direct commission that he had received from General Ridgeway was legal because Ridgeway wasn't a Marine officer. Puller told buck that Ridgeway was the Commander in Chief for all th UN troops fighting in Korea including the Marines and did in fact have the authority to commision any one in his command. General Puller then gave Buck another Silver Star and allowed the Convoy to continue.

A direct commission and three Silver Stars make Buck Ambrosia a Hero in my book.
I was curious to find out more about this man, so I tried looking him up but found very little. I did find a man with a similar name, not Buck, but "J.", and that yielded more results: said:
(B) Ambrosia, Eugene J., USMC - Awarded: SS - Korean War

(B) Before a Name indicates Recipients for whom we have little more than a name and verification of the award.

And said:
Silver Star

Awarded for actions during the Korean War

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Eugene J. Ambrosia (MCSN: 0-48426), United States Marine Corps, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action at Korea on December 6 & 7, 1950.

Action Date: December 6 & 7, 1950

Service: Marine Corps

It mentions one silver star in Korea, so I looked up a bit more. said:
Ambrosia, Eugene J. Deceased Date unknown
Pfc., USMC, 1940
Cpl., 1942, WWII
#6 in Marine Gun Crew
SLC Deck Log Mar. 1942
Attended the following SLC Reunions: 1983 1985

No mention of the other awards (one at Korea, but no mention of a 2nd one, nor one in Iwo) or his promotion?