Originally created 01/01/00

James Dyess



A sudden summer storm hit Sullivan's Island, S.C., in 1928 and a young Augusta man dived into violent waters to help rescue a woman caught in the surf.

The response was an early indication of James Dyess' character. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal for the rescue and destined to be the only man in U.S. history to receive both that medal and the Medal of Honor for heroism in World War II.

Dyess, a Marine Reservist in 1940, was called to active duty and given command of a battalion. As a lieutenant colonel in 1944, Dyess participated in an assault in the Marshall Islands. He led his men on the front lines, continually exposing himself to enemy fire and distinguished himself by breaking through enemy lines to rescue wounded men pinned down by machine gun fire. The next day Dyess was struck down by a Japanese bullet.