Michael J. Daly; Credited His Valor In WWII to Luck
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Michael J. Daly, 83, who won the Medal of Honor as a 20-year-old lieutenant in World War II, died July 25 at his home in Fairfield, Conn. He had pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Daly received the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award for valor, for actions he took April 18, 1945, in Nuremberg, Germany.
According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Web site, Mr. Daly engaged in four single-handed firefights to protect his men, killing 15 Germans, silencing three enemy machine guns and wiping out an entire enemy patrol.
Mr. Daly entered World War II as an 18-year-old private after leaving the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. During the war, he also received three awards of the Silver Star and two awards of the Purple Heart.
Mr. Daly was modest about his military accomplishments and circumspect about his role.
"Anybody would have done what I did," he once told a friend. "Luck is important in life, but in combat it is crucial. The bravest things are often done with God the only witness."
Michael Joseph Daly was born in New York. After the war, he moved to Fairfield and began a career as a manufacturer's representative and entrepreneur. He devoted a substantial part of his life to St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Conn.
He was one of the hospital's first lay trustees and served on its board for more than 30 years. He was known as the "conscience of the hospital" for his commitment to the poor and palliative care for the terminally ill.
He was also instrumental in developing financial support for the hospital.
Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Margaret Wallace Daly of Fairfield; two children; two stepchildren; two sisters; and three grandsons.