MILITARY ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART
DEPARTMENT OF GEORGIA
A. JAMES DYESS MEMORIAL CHAPTER
425 - AUGUSTA
EST. APRIL 6, 1977
Chapter 425 is named in honor if Lieutenant Colonel Aquilla James Dyess. Lieutenant Colonel Aquilla James "Jimmie" Dyess (January 11, 1909 – February 2, 1944) was a United States Marine Corps officer who was a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life" at the head of his troops during World War II, in the Battle of Kwajalein, on Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands on February 2, 1944.
Aquilla James Dyess was born on January 11, 1909 in Andersonville, Georgia. He was a distant cousin of fellow World War II veteran William Dyess. As a youth, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout, highest in the Boy Scouts. Dyess is one of only nine known Eagle Scouts who also received the Medal of Honor. He is also the only American to receive both the Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism and the Medal of Honor. In 1929, he was awarded the Carnegie Medal for saving two swimmers off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina in 1928.
Communications Workers Hall
3846 Leigh Street,
Martinez, Georgia 30907
MEETING DAY / TIME
3rd Saturday of the Month
Chapter 425 was the first chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart established in Georgia. We have a proud tradition of helping all veterans in our area. If you would like to find out how to get involved or join our chapter please contact either of the officers listed above. Our meetings are open to all members. If you are a Purple Heart recipient and would like to come to a meeting to see what we are about please contact either of the officers listed above. Click on the images below to see the programs we proudly offer.
Dyess graduated from Clemson College, Clemson, South Carolina, in 1932 with a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture. At Clemson, he served as a cadet major in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and was appointed a second lieutenant in the Army Infantry Reserve in 1931.
In civilian life, he was a general contractor. He also served as assistant director of a summer camp for boys.
Dyess was appointed a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve in November 1936 and was assigned to 19th Battalion, a reserve unit in Augusta Georgia. In 1937, 1stLt Dyess was awarded the bronze star as a shooting member of the Marine Corps Rifle Team which won the Hilton trophy in the National matches, and was given the same award in 1938 as an alternate member of the team that captured the Rattlesnake trophy in the matches.
On February 1, 1944, the day preceding Dyess’s death, six U.S. Marine snipers were on a patrol run on Namur Island where Japanese forces had taken up protected positions following the Battle of Kwajalein. The Marine patrol had inadvertently moved behind enemy lines, surrounded on three sides by Japanese forces, where they came under small arms fire from a concealed position. One of the Marines was killed instantly, and four of the remaining five Marines sustained injuries from the attack. One of the injured Marines, Cpl. Frank Pokrop, later recalled, “with no protection and heavy fire coming at us from a few feet away and dusk approaching, we were certain to be killed. All of a sudden Col. Dyess broke through on the right, braving the very heavy fire, and got all of us out of there."
Lieutenant Colonel Dyess was killed on February 2, 1944 by a burst of enemy machine gun fire while standing on the parapet of an anti-tank trench directing a group of infantry in a flanking attack against the last Japanese position in the northern part of Namur Island. In this final assault, LtCol Dyess posted himself between the opposing lines and, exposed to fire from heavy automatic weapons, led his troops in the advance. Wherever the attack was slowed by heavier enemy fire, he quickly appeared and placed himself at the head of his men and inspired them to push forward.
Lieutenant Colonel Dyess was initially buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Roi-Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands. Later, in 1948, he was re-interred in Westover Memorial Park Cemetery, Augusta, Georgia.
54th Past National Commander
World War II