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John W. O'Daniel

John W. O'Daniel

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John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel (February 15, 1894 – March 27, 1975) was a United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 general, best known for commanding the Third Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Southern France during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He is also known for being the commanding officer of Audie Murphy
Audie Murphy
Audie Leon Murphy was a highly decorated and famous soldier. Through LIFE magazine's July 16, 1945 issue , he became one the most famous soldiers of World War II and widely regarded as the most decorated American soldier of the war...

.

O’Daniel was an athlete, a teacher, a diplomat, and a lifetime military professional. He was short of stature (five foot six inches), an outspoken, doughty, gravel-voiced, combat leader of men through three major wars spanning a forty year career. His motto was, “sharpen your bayonet”. In his memoirs, Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 called him “one of our outstanding combat soldiers”. The press likened him to General Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

 for his strong personal opinions and his fearless demeanor, as well as his dash and daring in moving the Third Infantry Division across the European Theater of Operations.

Early life


John Wilson O’Daniel was born in Newark, Delaware February 15, 1894. He graduated from high school at Oxford, Pennsylvania
Oxford, Pennsylvania
Oxford is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States. Oxford is the closest town to Lincoln University. The population was 4,315 at the 2000 census.-History:The borough was once called Oxford Crossing and Oxford Village....

 in 1912 and attended Delaware College in Newark, Delaware, where he played varsity football and earned the nickname “Mike”. He enlisted in the Delaware National Guard in 1913 with Company E, 1st Delaware Infantry. On July 19, 1916 he was mobilized, and served as a corporal and sergeant with the First Infantry at the Mexico border in Deming, New Mexico
Deming, New Mexico
Deming is a city in Luna County, New Mexico, United States, located 60 miles west of Las Cruces. The population was 14,116 at the 2000 census. Deming is the county seat and principal town of Luna County.-History:...

. He was honorably discharged from service on his 23rd birthday, February 15, 1917.

Early military career and World War I


After graduation from Delaware College in 1917 he was commissioned a second lieutenant of the Infantry Reserve on August 15 at Reserve Officers Training Camp at Fort Myer, Virginia. He received his regular commission on October 26 and was assigned to the 11th Infantry Regiment (United States)
11th Infantry Regiment (United States)
The 11th Infantry Regiment is a regiment in the United States Army.-The First 11th Infantry:Under the authority granted the President by the Act of July 16, 1798, to raise twelve additional regiments of infantry, the first 11th Infantry came into existence in the Army of the United States in...

 at Camp Forrest
Camp Forrest
Camp Forrest, located in Tullahoma, Tennessee, was one of the U.S. Army's largest training bases during World War II. It was an active Army post between 1941 and 1946.-History:...

, Tennessee.

He shipped out for overseas duty and participated in the St. Mihiel
Battle of Saint-Mihiel
The Battle of Saint-Mihiel was a World War I battle fought between September 12–15, 1918, involving the American Expeditionary Force and 48,000 French troops under the command of U.S. general John J. Pershing against German positions...

 and Meuse-Argonne Offensive
Meuse-Argonne Offensive
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, or Maas-Argonne Offensive, also called the Battle of the Argonne Forest, was a part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire western front.-Overview:...

s. He was wounded at St. Mihiel on September 12, 1918. Testifying to his endurance and aggressiveness in battle was his nickname, “Iron Mike”, awarded by his peers, said to be a result of his actions at St. Mihiel, where he fought for twelve hours, even though he was hit in the face by a German machine gun bullet and severely wounded. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

 for his actions as well as the Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

. He returned to the United States with the 11th Infantry on September 1919 and was transferred to the 25th Infantry Regiment (United States) at Camp Stephen D. Little at Nogales, Arizona
Nogales, Arizona
Nogales is a city in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, United States. The population was 21,017 at the 2010 census. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 20,833. The city is the county seat of Santa Cruz County....

.

Between the wars


General O’Daniel became an infantry instructor with New Jersey National Guard at Trenton in May 1924. In September 1927 he entered the Infantry School
United States Army Infantry School
The United States Army Infantry School is located in Fort Benning, Georgia. It is made up of the following components:*192d Infantry Brigade...

 at Fort Benning Georgia and was graduated in May 1928. He was transferred in July 1928 to the 21st Infantry at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and in January 1930 was placed in command of the Military Police Detachment of the Hawaiian Department at Fort Schafter. In October 1931 he joined the 12th Infantry at Fort Howard Maryland.

In the 1930s with the country locked in Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, General O’Daniel undertook a series of assignments that departed from traditional military roles. In May 1933, General O’Daniel became assistant to the Officer in Charge of the Port of Embarkation at New York City for the Pilgrimage of War Mothers and Widows. From September to November 1933, he was on Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D...

 duty at Smokemont, North Carolina
Oconaluftee (Great Smoky Mountains)
Oconaluftee is the name of a river valley in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, located in the Southeastern United States. Formerly the site of a Cherokee village and Appalachian community, the valley's bottomland is now home to the main entrance to the North Carolina section of the...

 and then was assigned to the 22d Infantry Regiment (United States) at Fort Oglethorpe Georgia. In July 1934 he was appointed Army liaison officer with the Tennessee Valley Authority
Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933 to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected...

. In March 1935 he became adjutant of District “D” of the Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort McClellan, Alabama. He was named Executive Officer of District “D” in July 1935 earning advancement to Major in August, and a year later he became Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the Academy of Richmond County at Augusta Georgia.

General O’Daniel entered the Command and Staff School at Fort Leavenworth Kansas in September and was graduated in June 1939. He was then assigned to Fort Brady Michigan as an instructor of the Citizen’s Military Training Camp and Officer’s Reserve Corps. In August 1939 he became branch instructor in the Michigan Military Area with headquarters in Detroit.

World War II


In January 1941 he became commander of the Second Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (United States)
24th Infantry Regiment (United States)
The 24th Infantry Regiment was a unit of the United States Army, active from 1869 until 1951, and again from 1995 until 2006. The regiment is notable for having a colorfully checkered history, with a record of mostly meritorious service and valorous combat performance interspersed with episodes of...

 at Fort Benning with which he participated in the Third Army maneuvers in Louisiana – a critical test of logistical and combat capabilities for the later fighting in World War II. At the onset of World War II, in December 1941 he was promoted to Colonel and became Assistant Chief of Staff for operations of the Third Army and Director of the Junior Officers Training Center in San Antonio, Texas. In June 1942 he was named Operations Officer of the Amphibious Training Center at Camp Edwards Massachusetts.

In July 1942 General O’Daniel was transferred to Allied Force Headquarters in Europe as Commander of the American Invasion Training School in the British Isles. In September 1942 he assumed command of the 168th Infantry Regiment (United States)
168th Infantry Regiment (United States)
The 168th Infantry Regiment was an Iowa National Guard unit which served during the 'Punitive Expedition' pursuing Pancho Villa and the latter part of World War I. It became part of the 42nd Division, commonly referred to as the 'Rainbow' Division. For four months, from July to November 1917, the...

 in the North African theater
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

 and led that unit on November 8–9 in the capture of Algiers. He was also rewarded with his first star on the 20th of November. In December 1942, he was assigned to organize the U.S. Fifth Army Invasion Training Center in Africa which trained the forces for the landings in Sicily and at Salerno.

General O’Daniel in June 1943 was named Deputy Commander of the Third Infantry with whom he landed in Sicily
Allied invasion of Sicily
The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis . It was a large scale amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of land combat. It launched the Italian Campaign.Husky began on the night of...

. On July 24, 1943 he returned to Algiers and was attached to the 36th Division for the Salerno landings. Although not required to do so, he chose to land with the troops at Salerno
Allied invasion of Italy
The Allied invasion of Italy was the Allied landing on mainland Italy on September 3, 1943, by General Harold Alexander's 15th Army Group during the Second World War. The operation followed the successful invasion of Sicily during the Italian Campaign...

. He became officer in charge of amphibious operations for the Fifth Army on October 1, 1943 and the following month was reassigned as Assistant Commander of the Third Infantry Division.

He took part in the landings at Anzio
Operation Shingle
Operation Shingle , during the Italian Campaign of World War II, was an Allied amphibious landing against Axis forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno, Italy. The operation was commanded by Major General John P. Lucas and was intended to outflank German forces of the Winter Line and enable an...

 in January 1944 and assumed command of the Third Infantry Division while still on the beachhead in February 1944. While under his command the division repelled furious German counterattacks, finally breaking out of the beachhead encirclement and driving to Rome, where he was rewarded with his second star. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his service in Italy.

Much publicized, if not completely reported, was the comment he made at a staff meeting in response to a question from British Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander, commander of the Allied Armies in Italy. “I believe your division did not give an inch”, said Alexander. “Is that true?” The reply was “Not a God-Damned inch.”

He served there until August 1944 when O’Daniel and his Third Division landed at the St. Tropez Peninsula in Southern France
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

 and drove north through the Vosges Mountains
Vosges mountains
For the department of France of the same name, see Vosges.The Vosges are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. They extend along the west side of the Rhine valley in a northnortheast direction, mainly from Belfort to Saverne...

 to Germany. General O’Daniel led the Third Division up the Rhône Valley to Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, in the Colmar Pocket
Colmar Pocket
The Colmar Pocket ; in Alsace, France, was the site of an operation during the Second World War, between 20 January and 9 February 1945, where the French First Army and the U.S...

 where it decimated German forces in January 1945 and when it smashed across the Siegfried Line
Siegfried Line
The original Siegfried line was a line of defensive forts and tank defences built by Germany as a section of the Hindenburg Line 1916–1917 in northern France during World War I...

 at Zweibrücken
Zweibrücken
Zweibrücken is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Schwarzbach river.- Name :Zweibrücken appears in Latin texts as Geminus Pons and Bipontum, in French texts as Deux-Ponts. The name derives from Middle High German Zweinbrücken...

 in March 1945. He frequently flew over the front lines in a light airplane dropping notes to the troops below, exhorting them to advance. He led the division across the Rhine and participated in the capture of the Nazi citadel at Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 on April 20, 1945 after ruthless house to house fighting. General O’Daniel hoisted his flag over Adolf Hitler Square in the center of the city and paid a rousing tribute to the exhausted infantrymen around him for having “driven the hun” from one of the last remaining Nazi strongholds.

Just before noon on April 20, 1945 -Adolf Hitler's birthday- the 2nd Battalion of the 30th Infantry reached the Adolf Hitler Platz in the center of the town after taking its ground in a building-to-building fight. The street markers in the square were replaced by others bearing the name "Eiserner Michael Platz" (Iron Mike Square) in honor of the 3d Division's Commanding General Maj. Gen. John W. O’Daniel who was known to his intimate friends and to thousands of Marnemen as "Iron Mike."

At 1830, in the battered Adolf Hitler Platz, a rifle platoon from each regiment, as well as tanks, TDs, and Flak wagons, stood in silent array. Old Glory ascended an improvised flagpole and the band played the National Anthem. Maj. Gen. John W. O’Daniel then spoke.

"Again the 3d Division has taken its objective," he said. "We are standing at the site of the stronghold of Nazi resistance in our zone. Through your feats of arms, you have smashed fifty heavy antiaircraft guns, captured four thousand prisoners, and driven the Hun from every house and every castle and bunker in our part of Nuremberg.

"I congratulate you upon your superior performance. . .

The band broke into "Dogface Soldier." A few bewildered civilians contemplated the red, white, and blue banner flying at half-staff in mourning for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The Third Infantry Division went on to conquer Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

, Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, and Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

. It ended the war with the capture of Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps. It is located in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich...

, Hitler’s mountain stronghold in May 1945. Representatives of German Field Marshal Kesserling surrendered to him and he turned them over to General Jacob L. Devers
Jacob L. Devers
General Jacob "Jake" Loucks Devers , commander of the 6th Army Group in Europe during World War II. He was the first United States military officer to reach the Rhine after D-Day.-Biography:...

 near Munich on May 5, 1945. One of O’Daniel’s proudest trophies from the war was a pair of Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

’s trousers. He called them “a lot of pants”. At war’s end it was reported that O’Daniel’s “Rock of the Marne” Third Division had been awarded one fourth of all Medals of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 presented during the war for its feats in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.

In July 1945, General O’Daniel was assigned temporary duty with Army Ground Forces Headquarters in Washington DC. Later that month he became the commandant of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, and in November 1946 was also appointed Commanding General there.

Later career


General O’Daniel was named Military Attaché at Moscow Russia in June 1948 and after temporary duty with the Intelligence Division at Army headquarters, assumed that position the following September, serving until August 1950 when he was appointed Infantry Inspector in the Office of the Chief of Army Field Forces at Fort Monroe, Virginia. He once recalled that it was the only time he ever wore all of his military decorations he had received, “to dazzle the Russians who were impressed with his medals.” After returning from Moscow he made news when he wrote a lengthy magazine article about his experience and was quoted as saying, “For all its advertised glory, Moscow first impressed me, and still does, as a vast slum.” The Soviet newspaper Pravda responded by accusing him of being a spy and a liar.

In July 1951, he went to Korea to command I Corps (United States), U.S. 8th Army for his last combat assignment. During his service in Korea, he was awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement on flights from July 21 to August 14, 1951 and the Commendation Ribbon for meritorious achievement on July 18, 1951. General O’Daniel gained an appreciation for the use of airpower saying "The airlift to Korea is one of the greatest developments of this war. It gives a commander advantages he never had in wars before." He pinned on his third star on December 20, 1951.

On September 1, 1952, General O’Daniel became commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Pacific returning once again to Fort Schafter, Hawaii.

He capped his distinguished career when he was posted as the Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group
Military Assistance Advisory Group
Military Assistance Advisory Group is a designation for American military advisers sent to assist in the training of conventional armed forces of Third World countries. Before and during the Vietnam War, there were three of these groups operating in Southeast Asia...

 for Indo-China in April 1954 at the behest of President Eisenhower, leading the vanguard of America’s involvement in Indochina. He took a voluntary drop in rank so he would not outrank the French commander at that time. It was a controversial appointment, in that O’Daniel was viewed by some as not having the requisite tact and sophistication. Eisenhower defended him and believed that his critics had underestimated him. “Despite his nickname and his tough exterior”, Eisenhower wrote, “General O’Daniel was a man of great ability and tact”. He quickly became involved in Vietnamese affairs even before the French were defeated. He had been chosen for the assignment largely on the basis of his successful role in creating and supervising the training programs which had transformed the South Korean Army into an effective fighting force during the Korean War. Now, in the aftermath of the Geneva settlement, he and his 342-man group began preparing for the immense task of rebuilding South Vietnam's armed forces.

He was optimistic that with American help Communism in Southeast Asia could be held at bay. He recommended increased aid to the French and an increased American presence. His advice was taken, and he set out to train and equip a more competent and professional South Vietnamese military as France disengaged from the area. Iron Mike became a forceful advocate of the U.S. commitment to Viet Nam, calling it "a test of our guts and our resilience." A monument to General O’Daniel was erected at Quang Trung, about ten miles west of Saigon, and the site of the largest training camp in the country at the time.

General O’Daniel retired from active service on December 31, 1955. At his retirement ceremony General Maxwell Taylor, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, paid a personalized tribute during a Pentagon ceremony. Commenting that “Iron Mike” always gets his objective”, General Taylor told the story of how General O’Daniel captured Berchtesgaden in May 1945. Racing down one side of the Autobahn and finally putting his forces across the single available bridge, General O’Daniel’s men won the spirited race to the prized objective from the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division. General Taylor had been in command of the 101st at the time. General O’Daniel was awarded a third oak leaf cluster to his Distinguished Service Medal at the ceremony.

Decorations


His decorations include the French Croix de Guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

, the British Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

, the Italian Silver Medal, the Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

, the Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

 with three oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

, and the Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

. He was given Delaware’s highest civilian medal, the Governor’s Medal and the Conspicuous Service Cross of Delaware. He was awarded an honorary PhD from the University of Delaware in 1956.
  •   Distinguished Service Cross
    Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
    The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

  •   Army Distinguished Service Medal
    Distinguished Service Medal (Army)
    The Distinguished Service Medal is a military award of the United States Army that is presented to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States military, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great...

  •   Silver Star
    Silver Star
    The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

  •   Legion of Merit
    Legion of Merit
    The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

     with three oak leaf clusters
  •   Bronze Star
    Bronze Star Medal
    The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

  •   Purple Heart
    Purple Heart
    The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

  •   Croix de guerre 1939-1945
    Croix de guerre 1939-1945 (France)
    The Croix de guerre 1939–1945 is a French military decoration created on September 26, 1939, to honour people who fought with the Allies against the Axis force at any time during World War II.-Recipients:...

  •   Order of the Bath
    Order of the Bath
    The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

  •   Silver Medal of Military Valor
    Silver Medal of Military Valor
    The Silver Medal of Military Valor is an Italian medal for gallantry.Italian medals for valor were first instituted by Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia on May 21, 1793, with a gold medal, and, below it, a silver medal...


Later life


After returning from Vietnam and retiring, he was chairman of a civilian group called American Friends of Vietnam, demonstrating his personal commitment to the Vietnamese people.

He attended a reunion in Newark at the University of Delaware also attended by retired Marine Lt Gen. Robert T. Pepper, and Gen. Julian C. Smith in 1967. O’Daniel sent his alma mater a portrait given to him by Ngo Dinh Diem, the first president of South Vietnam. The Middletown Transcript recorded his last visit to Delaware on Nov 28 1971: “Lt. Gen. John W. "Iron Mike” O’Daniel, World War II hero, returned to Newark to settle the estate of his aunt Miss Etta J. Wilson.”

A 1945 oil portrait of General O’Daniel by Stanley Arthurs hangs in Alumni Hall at the University of Delaware.

He died in San Diego on March 27, 1975, survived by his wife Gretchen, a daughter Mrs. Ruth Snyder of Pacific Grove California, and four grandchildren. His first wife, Ruth died in 1965. His only son, John W. O’Daniel Jr., a paratrooper, was killed in action in World War II at Arnhem in 1944 while serving in the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment is one of four infantry regiments of the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army.Activated in 1942, the regiment participated in the campaigns of Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, Holland and the Battle of the Bulge during World War II...

, 82nd Airborne Division. A brother, J. Allison O’Daniel, was killed in an air crash while serving in World War I.