Daly’s greatest moment in World War I came during the intense fighting at the Battle of Belleau Wood. Daly’s Marines…were outnumbered two-to-one, outgunned …They had been pinned down for hours by a non-stop hail of artillery and gunfire, and things were looking bleak as hell for our boys.
Well all of a sudden, just as things were looking hopeless, a lone figure jumped up onto the earthworks the American Marines had been using for cover. Sergeant Dan Daly looked down the line, clutched his rifle and shouted, “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?” before charging out to meet the enemy…
On 26 June 1917 the U.S. High Command in France received the following telegram:
“Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely.”
For his actions in the Belleau Wood, Daly received the Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre. For actions in the Boxer Rebellion and in Haiti he twice won the Congressional Medal of Honor:
The first Medal of Honor winner was Irish born and 257 of the recipients of America’s highest military honor were born in Ireland. Nineteen fighting men have been double winners of the Medal, eight being Irish-born or Irish-American. One of those Irish-American double winners of the Medal of Honor [was] the indomitable Marine, Dan Daly.
Daniel J. Daly was born on November 11, 1873, in Glen Cove, NY. He earned his first “combat medals” in New York City by whipping rival newsboys for the best corners and at the age of twelve became a semipro boxer in sports clubs while still selling papers. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on January 10, 1899. Raymond T. Tassin’s chapter on Daly in his book “Double Winners of the Medal of Honor” describes Daly as a man “with jutting chin and flint eyes, he stood five-feet six inches and 130 pounds of rompin’, stompin’, destruction.”
Happy 235th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps.