Cause Greater than Self
The Journey of Captain Michael J. Daly, World War II Medal of Honor Recipient
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
Title Page, Copyright
Contents, List of Illustrations
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In February 2002, Robert C. Barry, one of my longtime colleagues at Georgetown Preparatory School, in North Bethesda, Maryland, walked into the faculty office and asked me whether Prep had any graduates who had received the Medal of Honor. Bob uses such facts...
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World War II, the so-called good war, continues to fascinate the public even as the “greatest generation” fades from the scene before our very eyes. Certainly the torrent of books, articles, films, museum exhibits, conferences, and oral- history projects over the last...
Note on Sources
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This book is based on archival research in military and school records and on personal interviews with Michael J. Daly’s family, friends, and associates and with some of the men whom Daly commanded or with whom he served. During several trips...
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August 23, 1945: the gilded, chandeliered East Room of the White House. President Harry Truman held the gold, five- pointed star1 slightly away from the chest of Michael J. Daly, the tall, young infantry captain who stood at attention before him in his tan service dress uniform...
Chapter 1: Hero-Father
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As an officer, Paul Daly was far better at soldiering than attending to administrative details. He had come to France to fight, not to do paperwork! This became apparent to Major Joseph Dorst Patch in late April 1918, when he assumed command of the 1st Battalion...
Chapter 2: Born with a Silver Spoon—“Slightly Bent”
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Ever the didact, “Major” Paul Daly sought to inculcate what he regarded as the “manly” virtues of patriotism, duty, courage, persistence, and selflessness in his son Mike. Horsemanship thus became an arena for moral instruction and character...
Chapter 3: A Disappointment to His Family
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Mike Daly had not had an easy or successful first year at West Point. He had survived a brush with the Honor Committee and the incessant hazing of the senior cadets (whom he seemed to infuriate continually), but he still faced his old academic...
Chapter 4: Initiation: D- Day, June 6, 1944
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On Sunday, June 4, when Mike Daly and other members of the 18th Regiment came off their ships, they sought the help of the Almighty. There, on the pier, they attended Mass. Behind them lay anchored the LCI(L)s (Landing Craft Infantry, Large) that would take them to Omaha...
Chapter 5: Proving Ground: The Battle of Normandy
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As the battle for Normandy raged, Mike Daly consistently volunteered for the most dangerous assignments: night patrols and sniping. Serving as a sniper was risky business, made worse because soldiers on both sides generally loathed enemy snipers. On one memorable...
Chapter 6: Becoming an Officer
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Mike was not the only Daly who would become a statistic on the lengthening list of US Army casualties during that fall and early winter. Even as General Patch offered Mike a commission as a second lieutenant and agreed to return him to combat as an officer in the...
Chapter 7: The Colmar Pocket: Winter Heroism
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Mike Daly and another man from Able Company trudged their way to Major General O’Daniel’s headquarters for a regimental awards ceremony. On a snowy field O’Daniel presented the medals. Daly and many others admired the stocky...
Chapter 8: The Dragon’s Teeth: Assuming Command
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First Lt. Mike Daly, executive officer at company headquarters, received a frantic call telling him that the attack by Company A on the West Wall had stalled amid tank traps (called “dragon’s teeth”). Worse, the company commander and a lieutenant...
Chapter 9: “Discipline of Kindness”
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Michael Daly’s men showed a willingness to follow him because they recognized him as a superb warrior and also because they felt that he had their best interests at heart. He modeled courage and confidence—an almost insouciant disregard for personal...
Chapter 10: Götterdämmerung: The Final Battle for Germany
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During the last months of the war, as the Allies drove into the collapsing Reich, survival was constantly on Daly’s mind, and on the minds of American troops in general. They faced shattered but often still fanatical elements of the Nazi Party...
Chapter 11: Nuremberg—Medal of Honor
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Daly and his men were so close to surviving the war, so close to the end of the nightmare. One last hurdle remained: dangerous urban warfare in Nuremberg. The city had been flattened by air raids, but the shattered landscape afforded many sites for snipers...
Chapter 12: Escaping the “Hero’s Cage”
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Shortly after 6:30 p.m., Capt. Michael Daly returned to a hero’s welcome in his hometown of Fairfield. Banners reading “Welcome Home, Captain Michael Daly, CMH” hung all over town, especially along Boston Post Road (US Highway 1) in the business...
Epilogue: Causes Greater Than Self
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In the midst of the deep hostility between the Reagan administration and the Soviet Union, Daly received an invitation from Lt. Col. Jared “Jerry” Bates, the young commander of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, 3rd Division, to visit his old outfit, which was stationed...
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I have taught at Georgetown Preparatory School, Michael Daly’s high school alma mater, and the nation’s oldest Jesuit high school, for thirty- four years. Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, valued two virtues above all others: gratitude...
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Glossary: Military Units—United States Army, World War II
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Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 34 b&w photos. 9 maps. 6 figures. Appendix. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series