America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan

By James H. Willbanks | Go to book overview

Dean, William F.

Born: August 1, 1899

Died: August 26, 1981

Home State: Illinois

Service: Army

Conflict: Korean War

Age at Time of Award: 51

Born in Carlyle, Illinois, on August 1, 1899, William F. Dean failed to gain admission to West Point and enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating in 1922. Dean had secured a Reserve commission in May 1921, but in October 1923 he was granted a Regular Army commission as a second lieutenant of infantry.

Dean served with the 38th Infantry Regiment at Fort Douglas, Utah, during 1923–1926. He then saw service in Panama with the 42nd and 33rd Infantry regiments. In 1929 he rejoined the 38th Infantry, and in 1934 he was assigned to the 30th Infantry Regiment at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. During 1935– 1936, Dean attended the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Following a tour with the 19th Infantry Regiment at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, he returned to the United States and attended the Army Industrial College in Washington, D.C., graduating in June 1939. He served briefly at the Chemical Warfare School at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, before returning to Washington, D.C. that September to attend the Army War College, from which he graduated in June 1940. He then served in the Operations and Training Division of the War Department General Staffand was appointed assistant to the secretary of the general staffin January 1941.

In March 1942, Dean was reassigned to Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, where he served as assistant chief, then chief, of the Requirements Section. He was promoted to brigadier general in December 1942, and in February 1944 he became assistant commander of the 44th Infantry Division in Louisiana. He moved with the division to Camp Phillips, Kansas, and from there to southern France in August 1944. He remained with the 44th Infantry Division throughout its campaigns in southern France and Germany. Named to command the division in December 1944, he was promoted to major general in March 1945, and in July 1945 he redeployed the division to the United States in preparation for its reassignment to the Pacific Theater.

In September 1945, General Dean joined the faculty of the Army Command and General StaffSchool at Fort Leavenworth; he became assistant commandant of the school in June 1946. In October 1947, he was reassigned as military governor of South Korea. He supervised the first free elections there and the inauguration of the Republic of Korea in August 1948. Dean then assumed command of the 7th Infantry Division in Korea and took it to Japan in January 1949. The following June, he became chief of staffof the 8th US Army in Japan. In October 1949, he was reassigned to command the 24th Infantry Division, which subsequently became the first US ground combat unit to respond to the North Korean invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950. General Dean arrived at Taejon airfield on July 3, 1950, and immediately assumed command of all US forces in Korea.

Striving to stem the North Korean advance, Dean personally led his division in the bitter defense of Taejon on July 19–20, on one occasion attacking a Korean People’s Army (KPA, North Korean) tank with only a hand grenade and his.45 caliber pistol. Given the near total disintegration of his division under heavy KPA attack and the lack of communications, Dean’s actions can only be characterized as “leading by example” in desperate circumstances.

Separated from the rest of his command in the confused withdrawal from Taejon, Dean wandered alone and injured in the hills until he was betrayed by two South Koreans on August 25, 1950. He thus became the highest-ranking United Nations Command (UNC) officer taken prisoner by the communists. Dean’s courageous conduct in captivity was equal to his bravery at Taejon, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor in February 1951. He was released from captivity on September 3, 1953, and returned a hero, although he was criticized later for his defense of those US prisoners of war (POWs) who had cooperated with the communists.

In December 1953, William Dean became deputy commander of the 6th US Army at the Presidio. When he retired from active duty in October 1955, he was awarded the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge by Army chief of staff Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, thus becoming only the second general officer, after Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, to be so honored. Dean died at Berkeley, California, on August 26, 1981.

Charles R. Shrader


Further Reading

Ancell, R. Manning, and Christine M. Miller. The Biographical Dictionary of World War II Generals and Flag Officers: The U.S. Armed Forces. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996.

Appleman, Roy E. South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1961.

Dean, William F., with William L. Worden. General Dean’s Story. New York: Viking, 1954.

-78-

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America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Entries ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Adams, Lucian 1
  • Baca, John P. 2
  • Bacon, Nicky Daniel 4
  • Baker, Vernon 6
  • Baldwin, Frank D. 8
  • Ballard, Donald E. 11
  • Barfoot, Van T. 13
  • Barnum, Harvey C., Jr 14
  • Barrett, Carlton W. 16
  • Basilone, John 18
  • Benavidez, Roy P. 20
  • Birkhimer, William E. 22
  • Blake, Robert 24
  • Bleak, David B. 25
  • Boyington, Gregory 27
  • Brady, Patrick Henry 29
  • Britt, Maurice L. 30
  • Brown, Bobbie E. 32
  • Bucha, Paul William 34
  • Burke, Lloyd L. 36
  • Bush, Robert Eugene 38
  • Butler, Smedley Darlington 40
  • Butterfield, Daniel 42
  • Cafferata, Hector a., Jr 43
  • Carney, William H. 45
  • Cavaiani, Jon R. 48
  • Chamberlain, Joshua L. 49
  • Childers, Ernest 51
  • Cody, William F. 53
  • Cohn, Abraham 55
  • Cole, Robert G. 57
  • Craft, Clarence B. 59
  • Crandall, Bruce P. 61
  • Custer, Thomas W. 63
  • Dahlgren, John Olof 65
  • Daly, Daniel Joseph 67
  • Davila, Rudolph B. 69
  • Davis, Charles W. 70
  • Davis, Raymond G. 73
  • Davis, Sammy L. 74
  • Day, George E. 76
  • Dean, William F. 78
  • Deblanc, Jefferson Joseph 79
  • Dix, Drew Dennis 81
  • Donlon, Roger Hugh C. 84
  • Donovan, William Joseph 85
  • Doolittle, James H. 87
  • Doss, Desmond T. 88
  • Dunham, Jason L. 90
  • Dunham, Russell E. 91
  • Dyess, Aquilla James 93
  • Ehlers, Walter D. 96
  • Evans, Ernest Edwin 98
  • Faith, Don C., Jr 100
  • Finn, John William 102
  • Fletcher, Frank Jack 104
  • Fluckey, Eugene Bennett 105
  • Foley, Robert F. 107
  • Foss, Joseph Jacob 109
  • Fox, John Robert 112
  • Freeman, Ed W. 113
  • Funston, Frederick 115
  • Galer, Robert Edward 117
  • García, Macario 119
  • Gonsalves, Harold 121
  • Gonzalez, Alfredo 123
  • Gordon, Gary I. 125
  • Hagemeister, Charles Chris 126
  • Harmon, Roy W. 128
  • Harrell, William George 130
  • Hatch, John P. 131
  • Hayashi, Shizuya 133
  • Hayes, Webb C. 134
  • Heard, John W. 137
  • Hendrix, James R. 139
  • Hernández, Rodolfo P. 140
  • Herrera, Silvestre S. 142
  • Hooper, Joe R. 144
  • Howard, Oliver O. 146
  • Howard, Robert L. 148
  • Inouye, Daniel K. 150
  • Irwin, Bernard J. D. 154
  • Izac, Edouard Victor Michel 155
  • Jackson, Joe M. 158
  • Jacobs, Jack H. 160
  • Joel, Lawrence 162
  • Kaufman, Benjamin 164
  • Keeble, Woodrow W. 166
  • Kelly, Charles E. 167
  • Kerrey, Joseph R. 169
  • Kisters, Gerry H. 171
  • Kouma, Ernest R. 173
  • Lang, George C. 175
  • Lemon, Peter C. 177
  • Levitow, John L. 178
  • Liteky, Angelo J. 181
  • Livingston, James E. 182
  • Lopez, Jose M. 184
  • Lucas, Jacklyn Harold 186
  • Luke, Frank, Jr 189
  • Mabry, George L., Jr 191
  • Macarthur, Arthur, Jr 193
  • Macarthur, Douglas 195
  • Mackie, John F. 198
  • Mallon, George H. 200
  • Marm, Walter Joseph, Jr 201
  • Martinez, Joe P. 203
  • McCool, Richard Miles, Jr 204
  • McGinnis, Ross A. 206
  • McGinty, John J., III 207
  • McKinney, John R. 209
  • Merli, Gino J. 211
  • Miles, L. Wardlaw 213
  • Miles, Nelson A. 214
  • Millett, Lewis L. 218
  • Miyamura, Hiroshi H. 220
  • Mize, Ola L. 223
  • Moffett, William A. 225
  • Monsoor, Michael A. 226
  • Monti, Jared C. 227
  • Munemori, Sadao S. 229
  • Munro, Douglas Albert 231
  • Murphy, Audie L. 233
  • Murphy, Michael P. 235
  • Murphy, Raymond G. 236
  • Norris, Thomas R. 238
  • Novosel, Michael J. 240
  • O’Hare, Edward Henry 243
  • O’Kane, Richard Hetherington 245
  • Okubo, James K. 246
  • Olive, Milton L., III 248
  • O’Neill, Richard W. 249
  • Page, John U. D. 251
  • Paige, Mitchell 254
  • Parker, Samuel I. 256
  • Pennypacker, Galusha 258
  • Penry, Richard A. 260
  • Pitsenbarger, William H. 262
  • Pittman, John A. 264
  • Pittman, Richard A. 265
  • Pope, Everett Parker 267
  • Pope, Thomas A. 269
  • Rascon, Alfred V. 271
  • Ray, Ronald Eric 273
  • Red Cloud, Mitchell, Jr 275
  • Rickenbacker, Edward V. 278
  • Roberts, Gordon R. 279
  • Rocco, Louis R. 281
  • Rodriguez, Joseph C. 283
  • Roosevelt, Theodore 285
  • Rosser, Ronald E. 287
  • Rubin, Tibor 289
  • Rudolph, Donald E. 291
  • Ruiz, Alejandro R. Renteria 293
  • Sakato, George T. 294
  • Salomon, Ben L. 296
  • Sandlin, Willie 298
  • Sasser, Clarence Eugene 300
  • Schofield, John M. 302
  • Shafter, William R. 303
  • Shoup, David Monroe 305
  • Shughart, Randall D. 307
  • Sickles, Daniel E. 310
  • Sijan, Lance P. 312
  • Simanek, Robert E. 313
  • Sitter, Carl L. 315
  • Smith, Andrew Jackson 317
  • Smith, Paul R. 319
  • Spurrier, Junior J. 320
  • Stockdale, James B. 322
  • Stone, James L. 324
  • Stowers, Freddie 326
  • Thornton, Michael Edwin 327
  • Thorsness, Leo K. 329
  • Titus, Calvin Pearl 332
  • Turner, George B. 333
  • Urban, Matt 335
  • Vandegrift, Alexander Archer 337
  • Vargas, Jay R. 339
  • Versace, Humbert R. 341
  • Wahlen, George Edward 343
  • Wai, Francis B. 345
  • Wainwright, Jonathan M. 347
  • Walker, Dr. Mary E. 349
  • Ware, Keith L. 350
  • Warren, Francis E. 352
  • Watson, George 353
  • Watters, Charles Joseph 354
  • Webb, Alexander S. 358
  • Wetzel, Gary George 360
  • Whiteley, Eli 362
  • Whittington, Hulon B. 363
  • Williams, Hershel Woodrow 365
  • Wilson, Louis Hugh, Jr. 367
  • Wood, Leonard 369
  • Woodfill, Samuel 372
  • York, Alvin C. 373
  • Young, Rodger W. 375
  • Zabitosky, Fred William 377
  • Zeamer, Jay, Jr. 379
  • Recipients of the Medal of Honor 381
  • Double Award Recipients 487
  • Medals of Honor Awarded by Conflict and Service 489
  • Bibliography 493
  • Index 511
  • About the Editor 529
  • Contributors 531
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