Daly’s greatest moment in World War I came during the intense fighting at the Battle of Belleau Wood. Daly’s Marines were in the middle of a goddamned shitstorm. They were outnumbered two-to-one, outgunned, and facing down the barrel of a veritable assload of German machine gun nests. They had been pinned down for hours by a non-stop hail of artillery and gunfire, and things were looking bleak as hell for our boys.
Well all of a sudden, just as things were looking hopeless, a lone figure jumped up onto the earthworks the American Marines had been using for cover. Sergeant Dan Daly looked down the line, clutched his rifle and shouted, “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?” before charging out to meet the enemy. The men of the United States Marine Corps saw this act of bravery and decided, no, they did not want to live forever. They went “over the top” and charged the German positions.
On 26 June 1917 the U.S. High Command in France received the following telegram:
Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely.
For his actions in the Belleau Woods, Sergeant Daly received the Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.
Daly would serve in the occupation army, then work in Fleet Reserve until he finally retired from the Corps. He worked as a banker for 17 years after his service and died in 1937 at age 65. He is one of only two Marines to ever receive two Congressional Medals of Honor, and to this day remains one of the most legendary figures in American military history. A true badass.