Dean, William F.

Highest ranking Korean war POW, highest ranking Medal of Honor recipient

Price: $175.00

Description:
(1899-1981) Major General in WW II and the Korean War, received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the July 20-21, 1950 Battle of Taejon in South Korea. He was the highest ranking US POW held by North Korea and the highest ranking officer to receive the Medal of Honor. Commissioned in the California Army National Guard 1921, on active duty 1923. He led the 44th Infantry at the end of WW II and led the 24th Infantry at the start of the Korean War. During the retreat from Taejon,he was separated from his command, badly injured, captured by the North Koreans, a POW for the rest of the war. He was promoted to Brigadier General 1942, asst. commander of the 44th Infantry Division in late 1943, promoted to major general. The 44th Infantry landed in France on Sept. 15, 1944 in the 7th Army drive to secure several passes in the Vosges Mountains. They advanced to Dossenheim, captured Avricourt, helped liberate Strasbourg then took Ratzwiller and entered the Ensemble de Bitche along the Maginot line. In Dec. 1944, Dean was promoted to command the Division, soon caught in the German offensive in the Alsace. They crossed the Rhine at Worms on March 26, captured Mannheim March 2829, and took Ehingen on April 23, crossing the Danube. The 19th German Army surrendered at Innsbruck and the44th processed German POWs until VE Day on May 8. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit and the Army Distinguished Service Medal. Dean oversaw the drawdown of the division until relieved of command Nov. 1, 1945. In Oct. 1947, he was appointed commander of military forces in South Korea and maintained political control of the country to Aug. 15, 1948 when the new South Korean government was elected and the occupation ended. He became commander of the 7th Infantry as part of the occupation of Japan. In May 1949 he was named 8th Army Chief of Staff under Lieut. General Walton Walker. In Oct. 1949 Dean took command of the 24th Infantry in Japan. At the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, the 24th was the closest ground unit to the Korean Peninsula and Dean was given command of all US forces in Korea. He landed in Taejon July 3. The 34th Infantry was badly defeated in the Battle of Pyongtaek. On July 12, Dean ordered the 19th, 21st & 34th Infantry Regts. to cross the Kum River, destroy bridges behind them, and set defensive positions around Taejon, a major transportation hub between Seoul and Taegu. The 3 regiments were already below strength, and suffered further heavy losses. On July 19, North Koreans entered Taejon, Dean personally leading the division in its stand. For 2 days, the 34th fought the North Koreans in house-to-house fighting. Dean was on the front lines, and personally attacked a tank with a hand grenade, destroying it, and repeatedly directed armor in the city while exposed to North Korean fire. On July 20, Dean ordered the 34th to withdraw. He remained behind assisting in evacuating the city until the last convoy was ready to leave Taejon. Just outside the city Dean stopped his jeep to tend to several wounded GIs but as they attempted to escape they ran into a North Korean roadblock and were forced to continue on foot. While going for water for a wounded man, he fell down a steep slope, was knocked unconscious, gashed his head, broke a shoulder, and was badly bruised. For 36 days, he wandered in the mountains without food and medical aid. On Aug. 25, 2 South Koreans who pretended to guide him to safety led him into a North Korean ambush and captured him; he was widely believed to have been killed. North Korean troops were initially not aware of his identity. He was taken to a POW camp, given food and medical treatment, but suffered from diarrhea and dysentery. Sent to the main North Korean POW camp in Seoul, he tried to keep his identity secret, but was recognized by a South Korean who worked for him before the war. He was moved to Pyongyang and held in an underground facility and remained sick owing to poorly prepared food. Dean was moved north where his guards began daily interrogations seeking military intelligence and to make him sign a condemnation of the UN intervention in Korea; Dean adamantly refused. He wrote extensively of his capture and imprisonment in his 1973 autobiography, General Dean's Story. Only until he was interviewed on Dec. 18, 1951 by a Belgian newspaper correspondent was he definitively confirmed alive and a POW. He was returned to UN forces at Panmunjon on Sept. 4, 1953. He received a hero's welcome and was presented with the Medal of Honor, which he was unaware he had been awarded. In 1951, Congress awarded Dean the Medal of Honor for the defense of Taejon. The Medal was presented by President Truman on Feb. 16, 1951 to his wife, son & daughter; he was then missing in action and thought to be dead. He was given a NYC ticker tape parade Oct. 26, 1953, and was Grand Marshal of the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade. Three months later he became Deputy Commanding General of the 6th Army at the Presidio of San Francisco until he Retired Oct. 31, 1955. 10 x 8 ISP, Army flat finish b&w bust portrait in uniform signed and inscribed with sentiment in white ink as Major General US Army. With several newspaper articles on his capture and release. Inscribed to Rev. William S. Warford who was a chaplain in the Illinois Statehouse.

Condition: Very good
Type:Photograph






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