• Abous us
  • Search database
  • Resources
  • Donate
  • Faq

Dalton James Leo II

James Leo II Dalton
Brigadier General
Serial Number:
25th Infantry Divsion
Date of Death:
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Distinguished Service Cross

James Dalton was born on January 20, 1910 and was from New Britain, Connecticut. He was KIA on May 16, 1945 during eh Battle of Balete Pass while serving as the Assistant Division Commander of he 25th Infantry Division.

James Leo Dalton II was born in New Britain, CT, but moved to Naugatuck, CT, 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 the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, graduating in 1933, when he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. During the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941, Dalton was posted at Pearl Harbor. In January 1943, his regiment, the 161st Rifle (Infantry) Regiment, was sent to Guadalcanal, as part of the Americal Division's deployment to the island. The 161st took part in the final weeks of the campaign. For his heroic actions during this campaign, Dalton was awarded the Silver Star Medal and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, then to Colonel. Dalton was given command of the 161st Regiment in the closing days of the Guadalcanal Campaign after its previous commander, Colonel Clarence Orndorff, was ordered back to the U.S. because of illness. Initially, the 161st was a National Guard Regiment, but having seen combat in the Guadalcanal campaign and taken in veteran replacements, the Regiment lost that title. After Guadalcanal, the 161st was ordered to New Georgia Island to link up with the 145th and 148th Infantry Regiments, in an attempt to take out the Japanese airfield at Munda Point. On arrival at New Georgia Island on 22 July 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 Baxter's fellow Ohio Guardsman, 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 Regiment was deployed to the Philippines during the Battle of Luzon, Dalton was promoted to Brigadier General and reassigned as Assistant Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division. Soon after, Dalton was killed in action by a Japanese sniper during the Battle of Balete Pass on 16 May 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 U.S. general officers killed in action during World War II. Medals and Awards Distinguished Service Cross Silver Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster Legion of Merit Bronze Star Medal with Combat Valor Device and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster Purple Heart Air Medal American Defense Medal American Theater Campaign Medal Asia-Pacific Medal World War II Victory Medal Combat Infantryman Badge Distinguished Service Cross Citation (Synopsis): Colonel (Infantry) James Leo Dalton II (ASN: 0-19100), United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 161st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces from 23 to 28 January 1945, in the vicinity of New Georgia. Colonel Dalton's outstanding leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army. General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, General Orders No. 38 (1945) Action Date: January 23 - 28, 1945