Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Korean War - U.S. Army

William Frishe Dean Sr.

  • Rank: Major General
  • Conflict/Era: Korean War
  • Unit/Command:
    24th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: July 20, 1950
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Taejon, Korea
Maj. Gen. Dean distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the repeated risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. In command of a unit suddenly relieved from occupation duties in Japan and as yet untried in combat, faced with a ruthless and determined enemy, highly trained and overwhelmingly superior in numbers, he felt it his duty to take action which, to a man of his military experience and knowledge, was clearly apt to result in his death. He personally and alone attacked an enemy tank while armed only with a hand grenade. He also directed the fire of his tanks from an exposed position with neither cover nor concealment while under observed artillery and small-arms fire. When the town of Taejon was finally overrun he refused to ensure his own safety by leaving with the leading elements but remained behind organizing his retreating forces, directing stragglers, and was last seen assisting the wounded to a place of safety. These actions indicate that Maj. Gen. Dean felt it necessary to sustain the courage and resolution of his troops by examples of excessive gallantry committed always at the threatened portions of his front lines. The magnificent response of his unit to this willing and cheerful sacrifice, made with full knowledge of its certain cost, is history. The success of this phase of the campaign is in large measure due to Maj. Gen. Dean's heroic leadership, courageous and loyal devotion to his men, and his complete disregard for personal safety.
Medal of Honor Recipient William F. Dean Sr.
Medal of Honor Recipient William F. Dean Sr.
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: California
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 9, 1951
    White House, presented by Pres. Harry S. Truman to his Wife
  • Born: August 1, 1899, Carlyle, Clinton County, IL, United States
  • Died: August 24, 1981, Berkeley, CA, United States
  • Buried: San Francisco National Cemetery (MH) (353-B), San Francisco, CA, United States

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