Joseph W. Dailey

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Sergeant Major Joseph W. Dailey was a United States Marine. He was the oldest living former Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps at the time of his death. He served in combat in three wars—World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He earned the Silver Star for gallantry in action against the enemy while serving as acting gunnery sergeant of Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines during the Battle of Okinawa. For extraordinary heroism in Korea, he was awarded the Navy Cross while serving as platoon leader with Company F, 2nd Battallion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and the Purple Heart for wounds received on March 26, 1953, while serving as company gunnery sergeant with Company F. He integrated into the Regular Marine Corps in 1953.

After he returned to the United States in December 1953, he was assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego where he served as first sergeant and then company gunnery sergeant. He then served as first sergeant with the Marine Detachment, USS Bremerton (July 1955–November 1956); battalion sergeant major at Camp Pendleton (through June 1959). He was promoted to first sergeant and sergeant major. He then reported to Houston, Texas, and assigned duty as sergeant major on the Inspector-Instructor Staff (until July 1962). He was ordered to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and saw duty as regimental sergeant major. He deployed with the 2nd Marines during the Cuban contingency operations.

In August 1963, he served as G-3 Division Sergeant Major at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, DC until May 1964. He then served as Post Sergeant Major at Marine Barracks, Washington, DC for two years. He was detached in July 1966 and arrived in the Republic of Vietnam the following month where he served as Battalion Sergeant Major, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. In November 1966, he was medically evacuated due to injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. In July 1968, he returned and served as Battalion Sergeant Major of the 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Amphibious Force until November. He then served as the 3rd Marine Division Sergeant Major until July 1969.

Dailey was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was born on February 17, 1917, in Black Mountain, Arkansas. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1941 in Portland, Oregon, and went through recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in California.

He retired from the Marines in 1973 and lived in Newport Beach with his wife, June, who served as a Navy nurse in World War II. He had two daughters from a previous marriage. He died on July 5, 2007.

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