[Congressional Record Volume 143, Number 55 (Thursday, May 1, 1997)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E815]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                       HON. GEORGE P. RADANOVICH

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 1, 1997

  Mr. RADANOVICH. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Victor 
``Transport'' Maghakian. A legend of World War II, Maghakian was one of 
the most decorated and well-respected soldiers of the war.
  A native of Chicago, Maghakian moved to San Diego with his family in 
1930. Nine years later, he moved to Fresno. He first served in the U.S. 
Marine Corps in the Philippines and throughout China. His familiarity 
with foreign bases throughout the Pacific earned him the nickname 
``Transport.'' After Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, 
Maghakian re-enlisted in the Marine Corps and was selected to work with 
the so-called suicide unit of crack soldiers. These tough Marines were 
known as Carlson's Raiders.
  As a gunnery sergeant, Maghakian led his troops through what was 
believed to be some of the bloodiest fighting in seven South Pacific 
campaigns. During one mission, Maghakian even made himself a human 
target so that a sniper, who had wounded one of his buddies, would give 
up his hiding spot. The enemy was shot, but not before Maghakian was 
shot himself, wounded by the sniper's gun-fire.
  Maghakian's bravery allowed him to continue undaunted through 
numerous battles. In 1944, during the battle of Eniwetok, he eliminated 
the last four Japanese soldiers on Mellu Island and went on to rescue a 
platoon by destroying the enemy flank with grenades. In the battle, he 
saved the life of a young man who went on to be one of Hollywood's 
finest actors--Lee Marvin. He also became the first officer to raise 
the American flag on Tinian Island.
  After leaving active duty in 1946, Maghakian retired as a captain, 
with full honors. He received the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, a 
Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts. He returned to Fresno where he 
owned and managed the Mid-Valley Beer and Wine Wholesale Distributing 
Co. and the Victor Mobile Service. Maghakian later joined the State 
Department as a security officer in Morocco before settling in Las 
Vegas. He eventually moved back to Fresno where he died in 1977, and 
was buried at Ararat Cemetery.
  Mr. Speaker, Victor ``Transport'' Maghakian fought for this Nation's 
freedom with uncommon valor. I ask my colleagues to join me in paying 
tribute to Victor Maghakian, an American hero.