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First Name: Aquilla

Last Name: Dyess

Birthplace: Augusta, GA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: James

Date of Birth: 11 January 1909

Date of Death: 02 February 1944

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served: 1931-36 (U.S. Army Reserve), 1936-44 (USMCR)
Aquilla James Dyess

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Aquilla James 'Jimmie' Dyess
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Lieutenant Colonel Aquilla James 'Jimmie' Dyess (11 January 1909 - 2 February 1944) was a U.S. Marine Corps officer who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during World War II. As a youth, Dyess attained the rank of Eagle Scout, highest rank in the Boy Scouts. He is one of only seven known Eagle Scouts who also received the Medal of Honor. (The others are Robert Edward Femoyer, Eugene B. Fluckey, Mitchell Paige, Benjamin L. Salomon, Leo K. Thorsness, and Jay Zeamer, Jr.) Dyess is also the only American to receive both the Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism and the Medal of Honor. In 1929, he was awarded the Carnegie Medal for saving two swimmers off the coast of Charleston, SC, in 1928.

Aquilla James Dyess was born on 11 January 1909 in Augusta, GA. He was a distant cousin of fellow World War II veteran William Dyess. Dyess graduated from Clemson College, Clemson, SC, in 1932 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. At Clemson, he served as a Cadet Major in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the Army Infantry Reserve in 1931.

In civilian life, he was a general contractor. He also served as assistant director of a summer camp for boys.

Dyess was appointed a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve in November 1936. In 1937, 1stLt Dyess was awarded the Bronze Star as a shooting member of the Marine Corps Rifle Team which won the Hilton trophy in the National matches, and was given the same award in 1938 as an alternate member of the team that captured the Rattlesnake Trophy in the matches.

Lieutenant Colonel Dyess was killed on 2 February 1944 by a burst of enemy machine gun fire while standing on the parapet of an anti-tank trench directing a group of infantry in a flanking attack against the last Japanese position in the northern part of Namur Island. For his heroic actions he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Place and date: Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, 1 and 2 February 1944.

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.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart


In 1945, the destroyer USS Dyess (DD-880) was named in honor of LtCol Dyess.

On 30 October 1998, the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Augusta, GA, was dedicated to LtCol. A. James Dyess, USMCR.

The Georgia-Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America celebrates Dyess' life in an annual Jimmie Dyess Days event at Fort Gordon.

The four lane highway from Interstate 20 in Augusta, GA, to Fort Gordon is named the Jimmy Dyess Parkway in honor of Lt. Col. Dyess.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Colonel Aquilla James 'Jimmie' Dyess was killed in action on 2 February 1944. He was initially buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Roi-Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands. Later, in 1948, he was re-interred in Westover Memorial Park Cemetery in Augusta, GA, in Crypt D, Row 5.

Honoree ID: 1375   Created by: MHOH




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