CHARLEROI – A Medal of Honor recipient who was born in Charleroi will be honored next week with a monument in the borough.
The American Legion Riders motorcycle club will dedicate a monument to Lt. Mitchell Paige, who single-handedly kept Japanese forces at bay in the Battle for Henderson Field in the Solomon Islands during World War II.
“I think it shows in a small way the contributions that have been done by Charleroi residents throughout the years,” Charleroi Council President Mark Alterici said.
“Mitchell Paige is the only Charleroi native who’s ever received our nation’s highest honor and we’re extremely proud that the American Legion Riders have planned this dedication in his memory,” Alterici said.
Alterici said that while Paige’s family relocated to West Mifflin when he was a child, and he retired in Palm Desert, Calif., he always recognized Charleroi as his birthplace.
Paige was serving as a Marine Corps sergeant in October 1942 when his unit came under direct siege by enemy forces. All of his 48 soldiers were either killed or wounded while he used machine guns to hold the Japanese troops back until reinforcements arrived. Paige suffered a wound to his left hand from a bayonet charge.
He received a hero’s welcome in Allegheny County when he returned to McKeesport while on a leave from the military. Among his other honors was Hasbro creating a G.I. Joe action figure in his likeness.
He died in November 2003 at age 85.
His Charleroi monument in the shape of a pentagon will be dedicated at 7 p.m. July 3 in Chamber Plaza as part of the borough’s weekend Community Days.