Joseph W. Dailey

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Joseph W. Dailey
Dailey JW.jpg
Sergeant Major Joseph W. Dailey c. 1969
Born(1917-02-17)February 17, 1917
Black Mountain, Arkansas
DiedJuly 5, 2007(2007-07-05) (aged 90)
Newport Beach, California
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1941–1945
RankSergeant Major
Commands heldSergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Battles/warsWorld War II Korean War
Vietnam War
AwardsNavy Cross
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal with Combat V
Purple Heart
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal

Joseph W. Dailey (17 February 1917 – 5 July 2007) was a United States Marine who served as the 5th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps from 1 August 1969 until he retired from active duty on 31 January 1973. Dailey was the oldest living former Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps when he died in 2007. Dailey served in combat in three wars—World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War—earning the Silver Star for actions during the Battle of Okinawa and the Navy Cross and the Bronze Star Medal for heroism in Korean. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Early life[edit]

Born 17 February 1917, in Black Mountain, Arkansas, Dailey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1941 at Portland, Oregon, and underwent recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in California.

Military career[edit]

During World War II, Dailey served with the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, and participated in combat operations in Eastern New Guinea; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Caroline Islands and on Okinawa. He was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy while serving as acting gunnery sergeant of Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines on Okinawa on 3 May 1945.

Upon his return to the United States, Dailey was discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve on 23 November 1945. On 18 June 1948, he re-enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, and was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant. He remained inactive until October 1950, when ordered to active duty at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton in California, where he served as a company first sergeant with the 4th Infantry Training Battalion. He was promoted to technical sergeant in August 1951.

In October 1952, Dailey joined the 1st Marine Division in Korea, where he earned the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism while serving as Platoon Leader with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division on 25 February 1953; the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" and the Purple Heart for wounds received on 26 March 1953, while serving as company gunnery sergeant with Company F. Dailey integrated into the Regular Marine Corps in 1953 and was promoted to master sergeant in August 1953.

Following his return to the United States in December 1953, Dailey was again assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, and served, successively, as Company First Sergeant and Company Gunnery Sergeant with Communications-Electronics Schools Battalion. From July 1955 until November 1956, he served as the First Sergeant with the Marine Detachment, USS Bremerton. He next became Battalion Sergeant Major of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton through June 1959. He was promoted to first sergeant on 30 December 1955 and to sergeant major on 31 December 1955.

Dailey reported to Houston, Texas, where he was assigned duty as sergeant major on the Inspector-Instructor Staff, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division serving in that capacity until July 1962. Ordered to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he saw duty as regimental sergeant major with the 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division. He deployed with the 2nd Marines during the Cuban contingency operations.

In August 1963, Dailey reported to Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C., for duty as G-3 Division Sergeant Major until May 1964. For the next two years, he served as Post Sergeant Major at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C..

Detached in July 1966, Dailey arrived in the Republic of Vietnam the following month, where he became Battalion Sergeant Major, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. In November 1966, he was medically evacuated from Vietnam as a result of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. In July 1968, he returned to the Republic of Vietnam where he served as Battalion Sergeant Major of the 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Amphibious Force until November of that year. He then served as the 3rd Marine Division Sergeant Major until July 1969. He earned the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" for his service during the latter tour.

Later life[edit]

Dailey died in Newport Beach, California on July 5, 2007, at age 90.[1] He is survived by his wife, two daughters, fourteen grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Dailey's military decorations include:[2][3]

Bronze star
Silver star
Silver-service-star-3d.pngSilver-service-star-3d.png VAFHM Class 2.png Vietnam Staff Service Medal ribbon-Second Class.svg
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg Republic of Korea War Service Medal ribbon.svg
1st Row Navy Cross
2nd Row Silver Star Legion of Merit Bronze Star w/ valor device Purple Heart
3rd Row Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ valor device Combat Action Ribbon Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 2 bronze service stars Navy Unit Commendation
4th Row Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal w/ 7 service stars Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal China Service Medal American Campaign Medal
5th Row Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 4 service stars World War II Victory Medal Navy Occupation Service Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star
6th Row Korean Service Medal w/ 3 service stars Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal w/ silver service star Order of Military Merit, Hwarang Medal
7th Row Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ 2 silver stars Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, 2nd class Vietnam Staff Service Medal, 2nd class Korean Presidential Unit Citation
8th Row Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation United Nations Korea Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal Korean War Service Medal

Navy Cross citation[edit]

The Navy Cross is presented to Joseph W Dailey (335540), Technical Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as a Platoon Leader of Company F, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Korea on 25 February 1953. While participating in a company raid on an enemy outpost, Technical Sergeant Dailey unhesitatingly volunteered to lead a rescue squad in an attempt to recover four Marine casualties who were discovered lying a few feet from a strongly fortified enemy-held trench. Moving quickly to his objective, he skillfully maneuvered his squad into a position from which he was able to rescue the casualties and, despite an intense hail of enemy machine-gun, grenade and automatic-weapons fire, carried out a further search of the surrounding terrain until he located and recovered two other wounded Marines. As an enemy force advanced toward his position, he skillfully withdrew his men and all the recovered casualties to friendly lines. By his exceptional courage, outstanding leadership and daring initiative in the face of continuous hostile fire, Technical Sergeant Dailey was directly instrumental in saving the lives of six wounded Marines and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.[4]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^ Hoellwarth, John (July 9, 2007). "5th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps dies". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
  2. ^ Chapin, John (1993). Uncommen Men – The Sergeants Major of the. Shippensburg, Pennsylvania 17257-0152 USA: Burd Street Press. p. 337. ISBN 0-942597-45-1.
  3. ^ "Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal". Air Force's Personnel Center. U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Dailey, Joseph W (citation)". Full Text Citations for Award of the Navy Cross to U.S. Marine Corps Personnel, Korean War 1950–1953 (224 Awards). Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-07-09.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Herbert J. Sweet
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Succeeded by
Clinton A. Puckett