Dalton, James Leo II

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Dalton, James Leo II, born 20-01-1910 in New Britain, Connecticut but moved to Naugatuck with his family at a very young age. There he attended Saint Francis of Assisi School, and in 1927 he graduated from Naugatuck High School. In 1929 he entered West Point , graduating in 1933, when he transferred from cavalry to infantry. Dalton was posted at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack in 1941 and in January 1943 his regiment, the 161st Rifle (Infantry) Regiment , was sent to Guadalcanal, as part of the American Division’s deployment to the island. The 161st took part in the final weeks of the campaign. For his duties during this campaign, Dalton was awarded the Silver Star and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel, then colonel. Daltonwas given command of the 161st in the closing days of the Guadalcanal Campaign after its previous commander, Colonel Clarence Orndorff, was ordered back to the United States through illness. Initially the 161st was a National Guard regiment, but having seen combat in the Guadalcanal campaign and taken in veteran replacements the regiment had lost that title. After Guadalcanal the 161st was ordered to New Georgia Islandto link up with the 145th and 148th Infantry Regiments, in an attempt to take out the Japanese airfield at Munda Point.  James Dalton (left) with General Douglas MacArthur greets, 4* General, Commander Sixth Army , born in Flatow, Germany, Walter Krueger on Luzon in an undated photo. On arrival at New Georgia Island on 22-07-1943, Dalton’s regiment was placed under the command of General Robert S. Beightler. In a difficult campaign, in which his regiment was unable to make gains due to heavy enemy defensive positions, Dalton’s regiment was also blamed by Colonel Baxter of the 148th for failures in the field. Beighter, although a fellow Ohio Guardsman of Baxter, decided that Dalton’s command was sound and was able to remove Baxter from his position through a fortuitous element of Baxter’s ill health. After the 161st was deployed to the Philippines during the Battle of Luzon, Dalton was promoted to Brigadier General, age 34 and reassigned as assistant Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division, nicknamed “ Tropic Lightning” File:25th Infantry Division SSI.svg.  The 25th Infantry Division had 5.432 casualties in 260 days of combat. The United States Army suffered 318.274 killed and missing in all theatres of the war.

Death and burial ground of Dalton, James Leo II.

 Soon after his promotion Dalton was killed in action by a Japanese sniper during the Battle of Balete Pass on 16-05-1945. The pass where Dalton died was renamed in his honor after the battle, and is still sometimes referred to as Dalton Pass today. Dalton was one of only 11 US General Officers killed in action during World War II. Other in WWII were General Leslie James McNair who was killed 25-07-1944 near St Lo, France by friendly fire during a pre-attack bombardment. Admiral Isaac Cambell Kidd
485px-Isaac_C._Kidd.NH50176  who was killed aboard the U.S.S. Arizona during the bombing of Pearl Harbor   , 07-12-1941, General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr. was killed during the closing days of the Battle of Okinowa by enemy artillery fire and Major General Maurice Rose
   was killed in an ambush, near Heidelberg, Germany. Rose was the highest ranked Jewish officer in U.S. history, and his 3rd Armored Division, nickname “Spearhead” File:3rd US Armored Division SSI.svg was the first U.S. Division to cross the Siegfried line into Germany. The 3rd Armored Division had 231 days of combat in World War II, with a total of 2.540 killed, 7.331 wounded, 95 missing, and 139 captured. Total battle and non-battle casualties came to 16.122. The 3rd Armored Division lost more tanks in combat than any other U.S. division. James Dalton was buried at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Santa Barbara, Luzon, Philippines, in Section D.
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