Daniel J Daly, part 1
Daniel was born on the 11th of November, 1873, in Glen Cove, New York. He grew up to be a smaller man of only 5' 6” and 132 lbs but became an established amateur boxer. Daniel had enlisted in the Marine Corps on the 10th of January, 1899 in hopes of being able to participate in the Spanish American War but the war had ended before he had finished his training at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The following year, Daniel was involved in the Boxer Rebellion in China and he received his first Medal of Honor for his actions there. We will save that tale for another day. Fifteen years after those actions, Daniel was in Haiti fighting with US forces in support of the Haitian government against rebels. It was his actions on the 24th of October, 1915, that would earn him his second Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor (Second Award) to Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Joseph Daly (MCSN: 73086), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with the 15th Company of Marines (Mounted), 2d Marine Regiment, on 22 October 1915. Gunnery Sergeant Daly was one of the company to leave Fort Liberte, Haiti, for a six-day reconnaissance. After dark on the evening of 24 October, while crossing the river in a deep ravine, the detachment was suddenly fired upon from three sides by about 400 Cacos concealed in bushes about 100 yards from the fort. The Marine detachment fought its way forward to a good position, which it maintained during the night, although subjected to a continuous fire from the Cacos. At daybreak the Marines, in three squads, advanced in three different directions, surprising and scattering the Cacos in all directions. Gunnery Sergeant Daly fought with exceptional gallantry against heavy odds throughout this action.
Three years later, Daniel's actions in World War 1 would earn him the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest awards for valor in the Navy and Army. In fact, Daniel was recommended for a third Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Belleau Wood but it was thought that three would just be too many for one person. It was during this same battle that Daniel was attributed to yelling, “For Christ's sake men – come on! Do you want to live forever?”. The quote that is more popularly attributed to him within the Marine Corps is less family friendly but ends the same as the words that he told a Marine Corps historian later.
A Fletcher class destroyer was named in his honor and the United States Postal Service issued stamps with his image on it, along with Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, Lieutenant General John Lejeune, and Lieutenant General Lewis “Chesty” Puller as part of their Distinguished Marines collection. Daniel Joseph Daly died on the 27th of April, 1937 at the age of 63 and is buried in the Cypress Hills National Cemetery; section 5, grave 70.