b. 23/06/1919 Alma, Georgia. d. 22/01/1985 San Antonio, Texas.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 02/09/1944 Montreval, France.
Born in 1919, Daniel Warnell Lee grew up on a farm in Alma, Georgia, long before he was a soldier. Lee was one of seven children who grew up in the family home, described by his daughter as a plain wood-boarded house on stilts with a dirt driveway, no air conditioning or window units, no bathroom and a barn in the back. Like most farm families, the Lee children woke early to do chores, went to school and returned home to do evening chores. Von Nerveldt says working on the family farm gave her father the determination he needed to strive for a better life. To do so, he enrolled at the University of Georgia and began working toward an agriculture degree. He paid his tuition with the help of a two-year scholarship from Sears, Roebuck and Co., working for one of his professors, typing papers for other students and working summers surveying crops.
Lee earned an agriculture degree from UGA in 1941 and began a career working in soil management. He attempted to join the Air Force, but was denied due to being color blind. In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He and Sallie Davis married in December 1942.
On September 2, 1944, while commanding a squadron as a U.S. Army second lieutenant in Montrevel, France, Lee single-handedly attacked a heavily armed German mortar position. Despite suffering a shattered thigh from German fire, Lee crawled toward the enemy position and attacked it with a rocket launcher. After the Germans retreated, Lee struggled back to his troops, where he collapsed from pain and loss of blood.
Lee – who enlisted in the Army after graduating from the University of Georgia – was decorated on January 23, 1946, by President Harry S. Truman. After WWII, Lee joined the Army Reserves and was recalled to service during the Korean War, serving for two years at Fort Knox, Kentucky, at the rank of captain. He and his wife raised two sons and a daughter. As a civilian, Lee rose to the position of senior vice president of Southwest Region of Military Service Company, the oldest division of EBSCO Industries.
Lee was active in the Medal of Honor Society and his family continued to stay connected to the select group after his death in 1985 at the age of 65.
First Lt. (then 2d Lt.) Daniel W. Lee was leader of Headquarters Platoon, Troop A, 117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, Mechanized, at Montreval, France, on 2 September 1944, when the Germans mounted a strong counterattack, isolating the town and engaging its outnumbered defenders in a pitched battle. After the fight had raged for hours and our forces had withstood heavy shelling and armor-supported infantry attacks, 2d Lt. Lee organized a patrol to knock out mortars which were inflicting heavy casualties on the beleaguered reconnaissance troops. He led the small group to the edge of the town, sweeping enemy riflemen out of position on a ridge from which he observed seven Germans manning two large mortars near an armored half-track about 100 yards down the reverse slope. Armed with a rifle and grenades, he left his men on the high ground and crawled to within 30 yards of the mortars, where the enemy discovered him and unleashed machine-pistol fire which shattered his right thigh. Scorning retreat, bleeding, and suffering intense pain, he dragged himself relentlessly forward. He killed five of the enemy with rifle fire, and the others fled before he reached their position. Fired on by an armored car, he took cover behind the German half-track and there found a panzerfaust with which to neutralize this threat. Despite his wounds, he inched his way toward the car through withering machine-gun fire, maneuvered into range, and blasted the vehicle with a round from the rocket launcher, forcing it to withdraw. Having cleared the slope of hostile troops, he struggled back to his men, where he collapsed from pain and loss of blood. Second Lt. Lee’s outstanding gallantry, willing risk of life, and extreme tenacity of purpose in coming to grips with the enemy, although suffering from grievous wounds, set an example of bravery and devotion to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.
BURIAL LOCATION: ROSE HILL CEMETERY, ALMA, GEORGIA.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.