Fridge Logic - Whether or not it's grounded in historic fact, many fans wonder why Basilone didn't just use his jacket or some other cloth material to use as a makeshift glove for his searing hot machine gun... or at least roll down his sleeves, for Christ's sake
In the midst of a full-scale battle, when he had to reposition himself to save his comrades, he probably didn't had time to think rationally. Given how close the Japanese were charging against the American line, there was no time at all to do anything other than point and shoot
A rolled-down sleeve or a rag wouldn't have helped anyway. The machinegun had been disconnected from its water coolant and had already been continuously fired for a while. That kind of heat will conduct right through clothing. In fact, it probably would've made things worse; more than likely the fabric would've fused into the wound.