Daniel Joseph Daly: Marine who Earned the Medal of Honor Twice

By Ethan Cole on
 December 11, 2023

Daniel Joseph Daly is a name that inspires respect and admiration. He was a United States Marine who earned the Medal of Honor not once, but twice! This remarkable man achieved feats of bravery and courage during his time in service that are nothing short of incredible. His story is one full of pride, heroism, and an unwavering sense of duty. Let's take a closer look at the life of Daniel Joseph Daly, Marine who earned the Medal of Honor twice.

Early Life And Enlistment In The Marines

Daniel Joseph Daly was born on November 11, 1873 in Glen Cove, New York. He was the son of an Irish immigrant and attended school until he was 15 years old. After leaving school, Daly worked as a longshoreman and became increasingly involved in street brawls. In 1899, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and was sent to fight in the Philippine-American War, where he demonstrated his courage and bravery.

Daly quickly rose through the ranks and earned a reputation for courage under fire. During this time he faced fierce fighting against Filipino guerrillas and participated in several battles that earned him recognition from his peers as well as a Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Cienega de Pateros. Daly also distinguished himself at other battles during the war including those at Lake Lanao and San Mateo. After the war ended, Daly continued to serve with distinction, eventually earning him two Medals of Honor for his heroism during World War I.

First Medal Of Honor

In April of 1918, Daniel Joseph Daly was serving with the United States Marine Corps in France during World War I. During a battle near Thier-du-Mont, he singlehandedly defended his position against enemy attacks and held off a German regiment for over an hour. His bravery and valor earned him the Medal of Honor, making him one of only 19 individuals in history to be awarded the Medal of Honor twice.

Daly's courageous actions during the war earned him great admiration from his peers and superiors alike. He also received several other honors, including the Navy Cross and two Silver Stars, for his exemplary performance in battle. His ability to stay cool under fire and his willingness to put himself at risk to save others are qualities that make Daly an inspiration to all Marines today.

Second Medal Of Honor

Having already earned the Medal of Honor for his actions at Belleau Wood in June 1918, Private Daniel Joseph Daly was awarded the Medal of Honor again on August 7th, 1919. This time it was for his heroic actions during the occupation of Veracruz in April 1914. During this campaign, he and his unit came under heavy fire from a much larger force of Mexican soldiers. Despite the odds being against them, he refused to leave his post and single-handedly defended their position until reinforcements arrived.

For his bravery during the Battle of Veracruz, Daly was commended by President Woodrow Wilson himself. He was also promoted to Sergeant Major – a rank higher than any other Marine had attained at that point in history. His courageous acts earned him a lasting place among America's most respected war heroes.

Distinguished Service Medal

Daniel Joseph Daly was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his heroic actions during World War I. He was cited for "extraordinary heroism in action while serving with the Marines near Belleau Wood, France on June 6-7, 1918." His bravery and skillful leadership served as an inspiration to others and helped secure a victory for the United States.

Daly's efforts earned him the distinction of being one of two Marines to ever receive the Medal of Honor twice. His courage and commitment to duty were essential in protecting his fellow soldiers and helping them achieve success through difficult times. He set an example that all Marines should strive to follow, and his legacy lives on today.

Later Career And Retirement

After the end of World War I, Daniel Joseph Daly retired from the Marine Corps in 1919 with the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. He worked as a civil servant for the post office and then went into business, becoming a successful contractor in New York City.

Daly was an active member of veterans' organizations such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars throughout his life. He died peacefully at his home in Staten Island, New York on April 27, 1937. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life to honor his service to his country and his distinguished military career that earned him two Medals of Honor.

Memorials And Tributes

Many have honored the memory of Daniel Joseph Daly and his extraordinary accomplishments in the US Marine Corps. In recognition of his heroism, several places around the world have been named for him, including a barracks at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, an auditorium at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, and a Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society building in Quantico, Virginia.

The city of Glen Cove, New York erected a monument to honor Daly’s courage and achievements. It was dedicated on July 4th 1927 and is inscribed with the words “Erected to Perpetuate the Memory of Sergeant Daniel Joseph Daly United States Marine Corps Who Was Awarded The Medal Of Honor Twice For Extraordinary Heroism”. He also has a stadium at St John’s University in New York City named after him. Daly’s legacy lives on in these tributes and will continue to inspire those who are brave enough to serve their country.


He was a man of courage and strength, the likes of which few have ever seen. His unparalleled heroism in World War I earned him the Medal of Honor twice, an amazing feat that has yet to be matched by any other service member. Daniel Joseph Daly's legacy will not soon be forgotten.

His courageous acts on the battlefield were an inspiration to all who served with him, and his name is still honored today at Marine Corps installations around the world. His Medals of Honor will forever stand as a reminder of his bravery, and his memory will live on through the generations who are inspired by his example.

Daniel Joseph Daly embodies what it means to be a true American hero. He put his life on the line for freedom and justice, and he paid the ultimate price for it. We owe it to him to remember and honor his legacy, so that future generations can understand what it truly means to serve our country with courage and distinction.

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