Birth of Daniel J. Daly
Birth of Daniel J. Daly
US Marine Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph Daly was born on November 11, 1873, in Glen Cove, New York.
Prior to entering the military, Daly was a newsboy and found some success as an amateur boxer. In 1899 he hoped to join in the Spanish-American War and enlisted in the Marine Corps. That war ended before he finished his training, though.
One evening in August 1900, Daly and his captain defended a barricade in the city of Peking, China, during the Boxer Rebellion. As night fell, the captain left to get reinforcements. Daly held the position through relentless attacks, single-handedly inflicting about 200 Boxer casualties until reinforcements arrived. For his brave conduct, Daly was awarded his first of two Medals of Honor.
In 1915, Daly served in Haiti during the US occupation there. On the night of October 24, 1915, he participated in the Battle of Fort Dipitie. Approximately 400 rebels ambushed his patrol of 35 Marines. Daly led one of the three groups of Marines to a nearby fort. He received his second Medal of Honor for fighting off the rebel ambush against overwhelming odds. Daly is one of just 19 men (and one of seven Marines) to have received the Medal of Honor twice. Several of the other recipients received both of their medals for the same action.
Daly went on to participate in the World War I battles in the Toulon, Aisne, and Chateau-Thierry sectors. Sgt. Daly is often remembered for his unflinching charge against German soldiers at the World War I battle of Belleau Wood in France. Outside the village of Lucy-le-Bocage, outnumbered, outgunned, and pinned down, Daly ordered an attack, leading his men. “Do you want to live forever?” he yelled. He and his small group of Marines surged forward and captured the town. It was recommended that Daly receive a third Medal of Honor for his heroics at Belleau Wood. Some thought it was unacceptable for one person to receive three Medals of Honor, however. Instead he received the Distinguished Service Cross and later the Navy Cross and French Médaille Militaire.
After the war, Daly was put on the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve retainer list. He worked for 17 years as a bank guard in York City. He officially retired from the Marines in 1929. Daly died on April 28, 1937.
In 1943, a destroyer, the USS Daly was named in his honor. Major General John A. Lejeune, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, described Daly as an “outstanding Marine of all time.” Major General Smedley D. Butler called Daly “The fightinest Marine I ever knew.”
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