Freeman Victor Horner was born on June 7, 1922 in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. He held only a grade-school education when he voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army on January 4, 1941 at age 18. Horner’s original enlistment was for one year, which of course was extended indefinitely by the United States’ entry into World War II.
Robert Evan Brown, Jr. was born on September 2, 1907 in Dublin, Georgia. He was known by the nickname “Bobbie”, and that was the name he used when he enlisted in the United States Army in 1922, lying about his age.
The Army was Brown’s home, and he was a senior non-commissioned officer in the 2nd Armored Division in the early days of World War II and the North African Campaign. In 1943, he received a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant and transferred to the 1st Infantry Division.
He was later commissioned as an officer in the cavalry branch and posted to Troop A of the 117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized).
All Medal of Honor stories are incredible, but some are even more so than others. Some read as if they hadn’t happened, the entire course of a conflict may have been different. Today’s story is one of those; that of a not-quite 19 year-old American, in the Army for less than one year, who exhibited conduct in action far beyond his years or experience. John C. Squires was born in Lexington, Kentucky on May 19, 1925. He was drafted at age 18 on July 24, 1943 into the United States Army.
Aquilla James Dyess was born in Andersonville, Georgia on January 11, 1909. He was known to family and friends as “Jimmie”, was a member of the Boy Scouts of America growing up, and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Dyess’ personal courage was first recognized after assisting in the rescue of a swimmer in risk of drowning 400 feet from shore, even though he wasn’t a particularly strong swimmer, on July 13, 1928. The following year, he received the Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund, along with the other rescuer, Barbara H. Muller.
Dyess attended Clemson College (now University), graduating with a degree in architecture as a member of the class of 1932. While at Clemson, he was a member of the Army‘s Reserve Officers Training Corps, and was commissioned as an infantry branch Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve. Four years later, Dyess was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a First Lieutenant.
Dyess was a general contractor in civilian life. He was called to active service with the United States Marine Corps when the United States entered World War II. The Marine Corps underwent a massive, rapid expansion to support operations across the Pacific against the Empire of Japan, and Dyess was promoted rapidly.
By January 1944, Dyess was a Lieutenant Colonel and the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. Their first combat action would be the Battle of Kwajalein, for which they were assigned as one of the assault units to land on Kwajalein Atoll‘s Namur Island. They stormed ashore on February 1, 1944.
For two days, Lieutenant Colonel Dyess stayed at the front of his battalion, ever urging them forward, and personally commanding groups of his Marines in local attacks. On February 2nd, as victory was nearly assured and 1/24 Marines were moving against the last Japanese strongpoint, Dyess was struck down by a burst of enemy machine gun fire. His indomitable courage and fighting spirit during the two days of battle was an inspiration to every Marine in his battalion, and deemed worthy of the Medal of Honor.
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*DYESS, AQUILLA JAMES
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines (Rein), 4th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, 1 and 2 February 1944. Undaunted by severe fire from automatic Japanese weapons, Lt. Col. Dyess launched a powerful final attack on the second day of the assault, unhesitatingly posting himself between the opposing lines to point out objectives and avenues of approach and personally leading the advancing troops. Alert, and determined to quicken the pace of the offensive against increased enemy fire, he was constantly at the head of advance units, inspiring his men to push forward until the Japanese had been driven back to a small center of resistance and victory assured. While standing on the parapet of an antitank trench directing a group of infantry in a flanking attack against the last enemy position, Lt. Col. Dyess was killed by a burst of enemy machinegun fire. His daring and forceful leadership and his valiant fighting spirit in the face of terrific opposition were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Dyess was initially buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Namur. After the war, his remains were repatriated to the United States and were reburied in the Westover Memorial Park, Augusta, Georgia.
The USS Dyess (DD-880), a Gearing-class destroyer named for the heroic commander of 1/24, served with the United States Navy from her commissioning on May 21, 1945 until her decommissioning and retirement on January 27, 1981. The ship was sold to Greece to provide spare parts for other Gearing-class ships in their service later that year.
The 24th Marines were deactivated as a Marine Reserve infantry unit on September 9, 2013. The regiment’s 1st Battalion, Dyess’ command, remains as a reinforcement battalion for the 25th Marine Regiment and is part of today’s 4th Marine Division. The battalion is comprised of reservists from the north central United States and is based in Selfridge, Michigan.
The members of the United States Air Force aren’t typically associated with ground combat. That doesn’t hold for those brave airmen who volunteer for Pararescue duties and become “Pararescue Jumpers” or “PJs”.
On February 18, 1969, a Kaman HH-43 Huskie of the 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron was dispatched to try and recover the crew of a shot-down Army helicopter. The Army pilot couldn’t be extracted from the wreckage before darkness fell. The Pararescueman who went down into the jungle to perform the rescue elected to stay with his trapped brother in arms until the rescue could be effected.
Saxby Chambliss of Georgia decisively crushed his Democratic opponent in yesterday’s run-off to hold onto his Senate seat, and deny – at least in numbers – the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority.
In some instances now, we’ll have another line of defense besides Justices John, Antonin, Clarence, Samuel, and Anthony as the Left tries to completely deconstruct American society and trample the Constitution.
Far, far too many RINOs in the Senate though – filibusters won’t always be able to be sustained. Coleman is still ahead in the MN recount; here’s to hoping it stays that way.