George Dilboy, The First Greek-American Who Fell in World War I
By Philip Chrysopoulos
via the Greek Reporter web site
It was on July 18, 1918, that George Dilboy was killed on a battlefield near Belleau, France in WWI after fighting so courageously that he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, America’s highest medal for bravery.
The Greek-American’s conspicuous heroism was so outstanding that he was recognized and honored by three US presidents. Woodrow Wilson signed the authorization awarding Dilboy the Medal of Honor while Warren G. Harding brought his remains back to be buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, and Calvin Coolidge presided at his final burial there.
Born in Alachata in Western Anatolia in 1896, Dilboy’s Greek name was Γεώργιος Διλβόης, which was Americanized when his family emigrated to the United States.
Andrew T. Kopan wrote about Dilboy in an article titled “Defenders of the Democracy: Greek Americans in the Military,” in the Greek-American Review in September of 1998.
According to Kopan, “After the Balkan War of 1912-13, his family fled to America to avoid persecution from the Turks…On July 25, 1917, he was assigned to company H, 103rd Infantry, 26th Division. He was sent with his company to France and took part in the Champagne-Marne defense and the Aisne-Marne counter offensive.”
The official citation of Dilboy’s Congressional Medal for Bravery reads: “Private Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon an enemy machine gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement.”
Dilboy fell “within twenty-five yards of the gun, with his right leg nearly severed and with several bullet holes in his body.”
The citation notes that “With courage undaunted, he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing two of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew.”
Read the entire article on the Greek Reporter web site.
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