McDaniel, William Thomas, LTC

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1950-1950, 1542, POW/MIA
Service Years
1941 - 1950


Lieutenant Colonel

Four Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Union Springs
Last Address
Albany, Georgia

Casualty Date
Oct 20, 1950
Hostile, Died while Captured
Intentional Homicide
Korean War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: Sec: 30, Site: 964-R

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Korean War Fallen
  1950, Korean War Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 2nd Award

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
2nd Battalion, 65th Infantry2nd Battalion, 32nd Infantry7th Infantry Division3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry
24th Infantry DivisionPOW/MIA
  1942-1944, 1542, 2nd Battalion, 65th Infantry
  1949-1950, 1542, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Infantry
  1949-1950, 1542, 7th Infantry Division
  1950-1950, 1542, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry
  1950-1950, 1542, 24th Infantry Division
  1950-1950, 1542, POW/MIA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 WWII - China-Burma-India Theater
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Offensive (1950)
 Colleges Attended 
University of GeorgiaUnited States Military Academy
  1934-1937, University of Georgia
  1937-1941, United States Military Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Lt. Col. William McDaniel served in Burma during WWII, and was awarded the Legion of Merit.

He was murdered by his North Korean captors in the Sunchon Railway Tunnel Massacre.  He had been captured 20 July 1950, during a counterattack that he had led to recapture some 155 mm howitzers.

Distinguished Service Cross

Awarded for actions during the Korean War The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry), [then Major] William Thomas McDaniel, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Operations Officer of the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.

Lieutenant Colonel McDaniel distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces during the period 27 August to 19 October 1950, after he was captured by North Korean Army forces at Taejon, Korea on 20 July 1950. Lieutenant Colonel McDaniel was the senior officer in a column of some 370 American prisoners of ware being marched from Seoul to Pyongyang, North Korea. The prisoners were suffering from wounds, hunger, disease, malnutrition, and the constant brutality of enemy guards.

At great personal danger, Lieutenant Colonel McDaniel continually interceded with the captors for food, medication, and better treatment of his men. By personal example, and with disregard for retribution which followed his efforts, he organized his fellow prisoners toward assisting the wounded and weak, not allowing them to be left behind. Lieutenant Colonel McDaniel inspired the men and restored the will to live and resist among the soldiers in the column. Additionally, he sanctioned and materially aided the prisoners who planned to escape the enemy-held column.

Resisting his own instincts for safety and survival, he declined to participate in several successful escape attempts of others because of his unfailing loyalty to, and compassion for, his fellow prisoners.

Lieutenant Colonel McDaniel's refusal to break under mistreatment by his captors and inspirational leadership at a time when the North Koreans were intent upon breaking the morale and spirit of their captives, finally led to his execution at the hands of the North Koreans at the Sunchon Railway Tunnel.

Lieutenant Colonel McDaniel's courage and unwavering devotion to duty and his men were in keeping with the most cherished traditions and ideals of military service and reflect great credit on him and the United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army: General Orders No. 24 (October 7, 1985) Action Date: August 27 - October 19, 1950
Service: Army
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Division: Prisoner of War (Korea)
For details of this fine man's life, see the biography written by his son, W. Thomas McDaniel, Jr., Col, USAF (Ret),  The Major: The Senior Officer in Charge of Fellow Prisoners of War, XLibris Corporation, 2011
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