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First Name: James

Last Name: Dozier

Birthplace: Galivants Ferry, SC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Rock Hill, SC
Middle Name: Cordie

Date of Birth: 17 February 1885

Date of Death: 24 October 1974

Rank: Lieutenant General

Years Served: 1904 - 1959
James Cordie Dozier
'Mr. National Guard'

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


James Cordie Dozier

Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War I

Lieutenant General James Cordie Dozier (17 February 1885 - 24 October 1974) was a U.S. Army officer who, while a First Lieutenant, received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War I.

The Early Years

James Cordie Dozier was born on 17 February 1885 at Galivants Ferry in Horry County, SC. The descendant of a long line of Palmetto State Citizen-Soldiers who had served from the American Revolution through the Spanish American War, Dozier began his military career with Company H, 118th Infantry Regiment on 3 September 1904.

In August 1916, Dozier was sent with the 118th Infantry Regiment to El Paso, TX. There, they joined Brig. Gen. John J. "Blackjack" Pershing's Punitive Expedition to protect U.S. border towns from Mexican General Pancho Villa's forces. Company H returned home to South Carolina in December. Four months later on 16 April 1917, Dozier's unit was activated for World War I. While training at Camp Sevier (near Greenville), over the next several months, Dozier was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in July and promoted to First Lieutenant in November. His unit boarded a ship bound for France on 11 May 1918.

Military Service

Between May and September 1918, the 118th Infantry Regiment trained and moved through the allied lines to become the first American force to face Germany's "impregnable" Hindenburg Line on 27 September. Over the next month, the regiment advanced through 18,000 yards of enemy territory, 15,000 yards of which was made while the regiment was in the front line spearheading numerous attacks. However, it was at Montbrehain on 8 October that Dozier became one of six South Carolina National Guardsmen to receive the Medal of Honor.

On 8 October, at five in the morning, G Company was ordered "Over the Top." The unit advanced approximately one mile before its commander was wounded and Dozier, who had already been shot in the shoulder by a sniper, assumed command. Soon after, the Germans sent out half a dozen machine gun crews in advance of their line. According to Dozier, one was particularly well advanced. "We could see men from my company and men of the other companies on our right and left falling from machine gun fire." Locating the source of trouble, Dozier signaled his company to lie down and seek as much concealment as possible. He then ordered a machine gun crew to fire just over the heads of the German gunners so they couldn't look over the top of the pit in which they were concealed. He and Private Callie Smith advanced on the left flank of the machine gunners until they were within 20 yards of the enemy.

Around 8:30 a.m. he signaled his machine gun crew to quit firing and dashed upon the Germans in the hole. "One of the machine gunners was about to get me with his revolver when Callie Smith downed him," said Dozier. The two knocked out the entire squad of seven machine gunners in this advanced position. Dozier continued leading his men for the next two and a half hours until all the machine gun nests had been silenced and G Company's objective had been taken. He and the unit also captured approximately 470 prisoners. At this point, the "Great War" was over for Dozier. He spent the next three months in hospitals recuperating from his wound.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company G, 118th Infantry, 30th Division.

Place and date: Near Montbrehain, France, 8 October 1918.

Citation: In command of 2 platoons, 1st. Lt. Dozier was painfully wounded in the shoulder early in the attack, but he continued to lead his men displaying the highest bravery and skill. When his command was held up by heavy machinegun fire, he disposed his men in the best cover available and with a soldier continued forward to attack a machinegun nest. Creeping up to the position in the face of intense fire, he killed the entire crew with handgrenades and his pistol and a little later captured a number of Germans who had taken refuge in a dugout nearby.

On 21 January 1919, General John J. Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force pinned the Medal of Honor to Dozier's chest.

Dozier Honors a Friend

Dozier rejoined the S.C National Guard on 1 December 1920, to organize the "Frank Roach Guards," of Rock Hill in honor of Roach, a fellow Rock Hill Soldier from Company H who lost his life in Flanders Field. On 1 September 1921, Dozier was promoted to Major and assigned to command 3rd Battalion of the 118th Infantry Regiment. On 1 January 1923, he was appointed Secretary of the State Board of Welfare which he held until the unexpected death of Adjutant General Robert E. Craig. On 22 January 1926, Maj. Dozier was appointed The Adjutant General (TAG) by Governor Thomas C. McLeod to fill Craig's unexpired term. At the time, Guard strength consisted of 2,104 officers and men. The Guard had two armories, one in Columbia, the other in Beaufort. The annual budget was $118,812.00.

Dozier's 33 Years as South Carolina TAG

Shortly after becoming TAG, Dozier was asked by the War Department to take over custody of Camp Jackson (Ft. Jackson) which had been abandoned by the Army on 25 April 1922. He is credited for helping to preserve the Camp and growing it between the World Wars and during the Great Depression (1929-39). In fact, Dozier Hall at Ft. Jackson was dedicated in his honor on 15 May 1998, by Maj. Gen. Stanhope S. Spears, South Carolina TAG and Maj. Gen. John A. Fan Alstynein, a past commander of Ft. Jackson.

In 1928, Camp Jackson was chosen as a training center for the 30th "Old Hickory" Division. Following the stock market crash the next year, non-farming jobs became scarce across the state. Dozier determined to help the unemployed by seeking Works Progress Administration (WPA) funding for Camp Jackson and construction of armories and other Guard facilities throughout South Carolina. Although it would take another four years to receive WPA funds for new armories, $86,656.00 was allocated for Dozier's new construction and maintenance projects at Camp Jackson and repairs at Ft. Moultrie's Guard facilities.

In 1936, the Guard dedicated 23 new armories and received funding for seven more at a cost of $494,759.00. "These new buildings constructed around the state is indicative, not only of civic pride, but of an increased interest in our National Guard," wrote Dozier.

Dozier's efforts to help South Carolina communities were so successful, the WPA awarded money in 1938, to construct five additional armories and another $154,980 to make general improvements and repairs at Camp Jackson. This put the camp in what Dozier called "first-class condition" for the more than 8,000 Guard Soldiers from the 30th Division who used the camp each year. These improvements proved tremendously beneficial when the Army's 6th Division reactivated Camp Jackson following Hitler's successful Blitzkrieg into Poland in November 1939.

In September 1940, the winds of war were again blowing across the nation and the 118th Infantry Regiment was activated. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, all 3,671 Guardsmen were activated for World War II. In order to ensure key logistical installations throughout the state continued to be protected, the South Carolina Legislature adopted Act No. 54, on 21 March 1941, establishing the South Carolina Defense Force to serve in the absence of the Guard. Dozier immediately organized State Guard units in 80 towns, with a strength of 6,000 men.

After World War II, the National Guard had to be completely reorganized and rebuilt. In December 1946, the process began and Dozier became an advocate for General George C. Marshall's plan for the post-war National Guard. Marshall believed a bigger, more powerful, well- funded National Guard would help deter future aggression by America's enemies. "I sincerely believe that if we had given our security its proper attention, the Axis nations would not have started the war," said Dozier.

A good portion of the reorganization and rebuilding Dozier undertook in 1946, included the development of the South Carolina Air National Guard. The Guard received 25 P-51s, one C-47 and four AT-26s at Congaree Air Base (McEntire Joint National Guard Base). By the following July, 94 of the new 116 authorized Army Guard units were also organized. The number of personnel authorizations continued to increase and by 1950, there were 12,683 South Carolina Soldiers and Airmen serving.

In 1951, Dozier's 25-year effort to acquire appropriations from the South Carolina Legislature for new armory construction came to fruition. The state provided $350,000 under an agreement with the federal government which provided 75 percent of the cost of building the armories. As a result, 14 new armories were built. In 1957, funding for 10 additional armories and the renovation of eight old ones was also approved by the Legislature.

By the time of Dozier's retirement on 19 January 1959, he had received many awards and accolades from leaders across the nation. The South Carolina National Guard's budget had grown from $118,812.00 (1926), to $6,230,159.62 (1959). During a time when armory utilities, maintenance and operation were a much smaller portion of the Guard's budget, "Mr. National Guard" had accomplished-what was considered at the time-the greatest and most permanent achievement ever accomplished during the term of office of any Adjutant General, the construction of permanent armories throughout the state. Appropriately, the name Dozier will forever be synonymous with the South Carolina National Guard.


James Cordie Dozier married Tallulah Little Dozier. Their son, James Charles Dozier, was born in Rock Hill, SC, in 1921 and also served in the South Carolina National Guard, retiring as a Colonel.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant General James Cordie Dozier died on 24 October 1974. He is buried at Elmwood Memorial Gardens in Columbia, SC.

Honoree ID: 1753   Created by: MHOH




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