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First Name: Marcellus

Last Name: Chiles

Birthplace: Eureka Springs, AR, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Denver, CO
Middle Name: Holms

Date of Birth: 05 February 1895

Date of Death: 05 November 1918

Rank: Captain

Years Served: 1917-1918
Marcellus Holms Chiles

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Marcellus Holms Chiles

Captain, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War I

Captain Marcellus Holms Chiles (5 February 1895 - 5 November 1918) was a U.S. Army officer who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War I.

Marcellus Holms Chiles was born on 5 February 1895 in Eureka Springs, AR, to John Horne Chiles. He later moved to Denver, CO, where his father worked as a lawyer. He was a student at Colorado College when World War I began. After attending an officers' training camp, he was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in August 1917.

Promoted to First Lieutenant in January 1918, Chiles was sent to Europe with the 356th Infantry Regiment, 89th Division later that year. He first saw action at the Saint-Mihiel salient in northeast France in August 1918. On 3 November, four days after being promoted to Captain, Chiles participated in an advance near Le Champy Bas as part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. In command of a battalion, he oversaw an attack against a large German force, leading his men through a waist-deep stream despite intense machinegun fire. Wounded during the water crossing, Chiles continued to crawl after his troops after reaching the stream bank. After turning over command of the battalion, he was evacuated to a hospital, where he died on 5 November. For his actions, he received the Distinguished Service Cross; the award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor the next year.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, 356th Infantry, 89th Division.

Place and date: Near Le Champy Bas, France, 3 November 1918.

Citation: When his battalion, of which he had just taken command, was halted by machinegun fire from the front and left flank, he picked up the rifle of a dead soldier and, calling on his men to follow led the advance across a stream, waist deep, in the face of the machinegun fire. Upon reaching the opposite bank this gallant officer was seriously wounded in the abdomen by a sniper, but before permitting himself to be evacuated he made complete arrangements for turning over his command to the next senior officer, and under the inspiration of his fearless leadership his battalion reached its objective. Capt. Chiles died shortly after reaching the hospital.

Death and Burial

Captain Marcellus Holms Chiles was killed in action on 5 November 1918. He is buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery near Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, France.

Honoree ID: 1746   Created by: MHOH




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