Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: George

Last Name: Dilboy

Birthplace: Alatsata, TUR

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Keene, NH

Date of Birth: 05 February 1896

Date of Death: 18 July 1918

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1916 - 1918
George Dilboy

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


George Dilboy

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War I

Private First Class George Dilboy (5 February 1896 - 18 July 1918) was a U.S. Army soldier 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. General John J. Pershing listed George Dilboy as one of the 10 greatest heroes of the war.

George Dilboy was born on 5 February 1896 in the Greek settlement of Alatsata, in Ottoman Turkey in Asia Minor, near İzmir. Dilboy's early years were spent living in a region of the world where dangerous feuding between Ottoman Turks and Greeks was an ongoing event for nearly 400 years. He and his family immigrated to America in 1908 and settled first in Keene, NH, and then in Somerville, MA. But Dilboy returned to mainland Greece in 1909 where he volunteered to fight in the Greek Army in Thessaly during the First Balkan War of 1912. He remained there to successfully fight in Macedonia in the Second Balkan War of 1913.

Returning to Somerville, he went to school and worked for a few years before volunteering to fight in the U.S. Army in the Mexican Border War in 1916-1917. He entered service at Keene, NH. He obtained an honorable discharge, but within months thereafter, re-joined the U.S. Army to fight in France during World War I. On 18 July 1918, Dilboy was serving as a Private First Class with Company H, 103d Infantry, 26th Division. Near Belleau, France, that day, he attacked a German machinegun position and, despite being seriously wounded, continued to fire at the enemy, killing two of them and dispersing the remainder of the gun crew before he died. For his heroism, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company H, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division.

Place and date: Near Belleau, France, 18 July 1918.

Citation: After his platoon had gained its objective along a railroad embankment, Pfc. Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon by an enemy machinegun from 100 yards. From a standing position on the railroad track, fully exposed to view, he opened fire at once, but failing to silence the gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed, through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement, falling within 25 yards of the gun with his right leg nearly severed above the knee and with several bullet holes in his body. With undaunted courage he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing 2 of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew.

At the request of his father, Antonios, Dilboy was buried at his birth place Alatsata, which was at that time a predominantly Greek city. After a funeral procession through the streets of his birthplace - said to have been witnessed by 17,000 mourners - his flag-draped casket was placed in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Presentation in Alatsata to lie in state before the high altar. But rampaging Turkish soldiers soon seized the town and during the three-year Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, Turkish troops recaptured Smyrna from the Greek invaders. The church was ransacked and Dilboy's grave desecrated. The American flag was stolen from atop Dilboy's coffin. The coffin was overturned, after which - according to an account by Bishop John Kallos - the bones of the Greek-American war hero were scattered by the marauding attackers.

President Warren G. Harding was outraged and sent the warship USS Litchfield to Turkey in September 1922 to recover the bodily remains. Harding also demanded and received a formal apology from the Turkish government. Dilboy's remains were collected and a Turkish guard of honor delivered his casket (draped once again in an American flag) to an American landing party in Smyrna. His remains were taken aboard the USS Litchfield and returned to the United States.

On 12 November 1923, he was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, where his gravestone proclaims his Medal of Honor status. Dilboy had the distinction of being honored by three U.S. Presidents, Woodrow Wilson, who signed the authorization awarding the Medal of Honor; Warren G. Harding, who brought him back to Arlington National Cemetery; and Calvin Coolidge, former Governor of Massachusetts, who presided at his final burial.


The Dilboy Field and Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, MA, were named after him. The Dilboy Stadium was constructed at Dilboy Field in 1953. By 2003, the stadium was in disrepair. State Senator Charlie Shannon lobbied the state government intensively for money to demolish and replace the stadium. While the money (over $8 million) was being obtained, Shannon died before the project's completion, and efforts were made to name the replacement stadium after Shannon instead of Dilboy. The renaming was scratched after some controversy and the replacement Dilboy Stadium opened in September 2006. Plans included placing a plaque honoring Shannon.

Somerville's Dilboy Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is named in his honor. The Dilboy post is VFW Post #529 and is located at 371 Summer Street. There is a monument and bust honoring Dilboy in front of Somerville's City Hall.

A George Dilboy Memorial was erected on 24 May 1942 by the George Dilboy Memorial Foundation at the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, IL, a western suburb of Chicago.

Death and Burial

Private First Class George Dilboy was killed in action on 18 July 1918. After Dilboy's remains were returned from Turkey, they were buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 18, Lot 4574.

Honoree ID: 1751   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image