Ken Harbaugh tells the stories of service members who have distinguished themselves through an act of valor. These stories feature recipients from the Civil War to present day, including a few who were originally overlooked for the medal.
Dan Daly was born in Glen Cove, NY in 1873 and first saw combat during the Boxer Rebellion. He later fought in Haiti during the Banana Wars, and at the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I. His bravery in these conflicts earned him two Medals of Honor, a privilege which only two Marines have received.
Welcome to the Medal of Honor podcast, brought to you in partnership with the National Medal of Honor Museum. I’m Ken Harbaugh. In each episode, we’ll learn about a different service member who has distinguished him or herself through an act of valor.
Sergeant Major Dan Daly is a legend among Marines – one of only two to receive the Medal of Honor twice, for separate acts of heroism.
Daly was born in Glen Cove, New York, on November 11th, 1873 – auspiciously a day after the Marine Corps birthday.
In 1899, Daly enlisted in the Marine Corps, aiming to serve in the Spanish-American War. By the time he finished training, the war was over.
But Daly didn’t have to wait long to see action. In 1900, he was one of the Marines sent to defend the foreign legation in China during the Boxer Rebellion. Fifty years of growing foreign influence in China had fomented resentment of the US and European nations, leading to the creation of the Boxers, who wanted to see foreigners expelled. They took matters in their own hands, attacking diplomatic missions in the capitol of Beijing.
With soldiers from foreign nations defending other sections, Daly single handedly held off Boxer attacks on one side of the compound for a whole day, inflicting roughly 200 casualties. His actions that day earned Daly his first Medal of Honor.
In 1915, the Marines were sent into Haiti as part of the Banana Wars, a series of police actions. Haiti was embroiled in a civil war between the US-friendly government and the insurgent Cacos. Marines were there to pacify the Cacos and train local forces to police future insurgent activity.
On October 24th, 1915, Daly’s platoon was ambushed by roughly 400 Cacos. In the attack, the Marines left a machine gun at the bottom of a river and occupied a nearby fortress as they continued to fight the insurgents. Realizing they were outnumbered and outgunned, Daly escaped through a drain to recover the machine gun and repel the enemy.
Daly almost received a third Medal of Honor for his actions at the legendary Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, but instead received a Navy Cross.
In 1929, Daly retired from the Marine Corps. He received a parade in his honor in Brooklyn and would work as a bank guard on Wall Street until his death in 1937.
The Medal of Honor podcast is a production of Evergreen Podcasts.
Nathan Corson is our producer and engineer, León Pescador is our associate producer, and I’m Ken Harbaugh.
We are proud to support the National Medal of Honor Museum. To learn more, and to support their mission, go to mohmuseum.org. Thanks for listening.