Andrew Carnegie set up a number of trusts with his fortune. One of them was the Carnegie Hero Fund. Jimmie Dyess earned his Carnegie Medal as a result of a lifesaving rescue in heavy surf off the shores of Sullivan’s Island in 1928. (click picture to read citation)
The Marine Corps saw fit to honor him for a different reason in February of 1944 for his actions at Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. He did not survive to receive the award.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL AQUILLA J. DYESS
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Twenty-Fourth Marines, Reinforced, Fourth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, February 1, and 2, 1944. Undaunted by severe fire from automatic Japanese weapons, Lieutenant Colonel Dyess launched a powerful final attack on the second day of the assault, unhesitatingly posting himself between the opposing lines to point out objectives and avenues of approach and personally leading the advancing troops. Alert, and determined to quicken the pace of the offensive against increased enemy fire, he was constantly at the head of advance units, inspiring his men to push forward until the Japanese had been driven back to a small center of resistance and victory assured. While standing on the parapet of an antitank trench directing a group of infantry in a flanking attack against the last enemy position, Lieutenant Colonel Dyess was killed by a burst of enemy machine-gun fire. His daring and forceful leadership and his valiant fighting spirit in the face of terrific opposition were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Lt. Colonel Aquilla James Dyess has the singular honor of being the only person to receive both the Carnegie Hero Medal and the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.