b. 11/11/1873 Glen Cove, New York. d. 27/04/1937 Glendale, Queen’s, New York.
DATE OF MOH ACTIONS: 14/08/1900 Peking, China & 22/10/1915 Haiti.
Daniel Joseph Daly was born on November 11, 1873, in Glen Cove, New York, on Long Island. He spent his youth in New York City, working as a newsboy among other jobs. Despite his slight build—5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) tall and weighing 132 pounds (60 kg)—Daly occasionally fought as a semi-pro boxer.
Daly enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on January 10, 1899, at the age of 25. His first posting was with the Asiatic Fleet aboard the cruiser USS Newark. In 1900, the fleet arrived in China during the Boxer Rebellion. On July 15, 1900, Private Daly and his commanding officer, Captain Newt H. Hall, set out to reconnoiter a position while under siege by the Boxers. A working party, scheduled to follow to construct defenses, never arrived. While Captain Hall returned for the working party, Daly single-handedly fought off a furious Boxer attack on the position, an action which earned him his first Medal of Honor. He received the Medal on 11 December 1901.
After serving in China, Daly saw duty on various ships in the Pacific and Caribbean areas, and saw action in the Philippines and the Banana Wars. He also trained recruits, gained a reputation as an excellent boxer, and rose to the rank of gunnery sergeant. On March 14, 1911, Daly was aboard the USS Springfield when he spotted a gasoline fire that was spreading toward the ship’s magazine. He successfully extinguished the fire, ensuring the safety of the ship’s 500 crewmen, but spent several weeks hospitalized with severe burns. Daly received commendations from both the Secretary of the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps for his actions.
Daly earned his second Medal of Honor in Haiti with the U.S. Marines supporting the Haitian government in a fight against Cacos insurgents. On the night of October 24, 1915, during the Battle of Fort Dipitie, Gunnery Sergeant Daly was on patrol with a detachment of three squads of the 15th Company, 2nd Marine Regiment, under the command of Major Smedley Butler. The Marines were ambushed by a force of some 400 Cacos while crossing a river, and the horse carring their machine gun was killed, its carcass sinking to the riverbed. With the battle raging throughout the night, Daly repeatedly dove to the bottom of the river until he located the horse, freed the machine gun from its restraints, and carried the 200 pounds (91 kg) of weaponry a mile back to the Marines’ position. Later, rearmed and with Daly in command of one of the squads, the Marines regrouped and scattered the Cacos.
Daly’s service in World War I began November 4, 1917, initially fighting in Toulon and Aisne. During the Battle of Belleau Wood in June 1918, Daly served as the first sergeant of 73rd Company, 6th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Brigade, attached to the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division. On June 1, the regiment was placed in a gap in the line left by the French 43rd Division, with the intent to stop the German advance toward Paris. The Marines drove back an attack by the German 28th Division on June 2. On June 5, a German shell landed in an ammunition dump at Lucy-le-Bocage, starting a fire. Daly quickly led a party from his company into the flames to extinguish the blaze, preventing the arsenal from exploding.
On June 6, the Marines went on the offensive. The Germans were entrenched in the woods, separated from the Marines by 400 yards (370 m) of open wheat field. Facing 1,200 Germans with 200 machine guns, the 73rd Company was pinned down by intense fire. As the Marines took cover at nightfall, Daly walked openly to each of his machine gun positions, rallying and coordinating his men. On June 10, a German machine gun unit advanced close to Daly’s position. Daly immediately charged the weapon, destroying it with three grendades, shot the unit’s commanding officer with his .45 caliber pistol, and took its remaining 14 soldiers prisoner. As the battle raged later in the day, Daly exposed himself to enemy fire while evacuating the wounded. For his actions from June 5–10, Daly was awarded the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the French Médaille militaire.
Daly’s final campaign was the Meuse–Argonne offensive. By the war’s end, he had suffered a bullet wound in the shoulder and two shrapnel wounds in the leg. Daly left active duty for the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1919, and officially retired on February 6, 1929 at the rank of sergeant major. After leaving the Marines, Daly lived a quiet life with his sister in New York, working as a bank guard and avoiding publicity. He died of a heart attack in Glendale, Queens, New York on April 27, 1937, aged 63. He is buried at Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
FIRST MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION:
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor (First Award) to Private Daniel Joseph Daly (MCSN: 73086), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with the Captain Newt Hall’s Marine Detachment, 1st Regiment (Marines), in action in the presence of the enemy during the battle of Peking, China, 14 August 1900, Daly distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.
SECOND MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION:
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.
BURIAL LOCATION: CYPRESS HILLS NATIONAL CEMETERY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.
SECTION 5, GRAVE 70
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE US MARINE CORPS (MEDALS FOR BOTH ACTIONS), QUANTICO, VIRGINIA.