Skip to main content

Army Private First Class George Dilboy - World War I

USCIS Detroit District and Field Offices and Application Support Center

Born in the Greek settlement of Alatsata, which is today located in western Turkey, George Dilboy and his family emigrated to the United States in 1908 when he 12. The family settled first in Keene, N.H. and then in Somerville, Mass.

Dilboy volunteered to fight in the U.S. Army in the Mexican Border War during 1916 and 1917. He was honorably discharged, but months later he rejoined the U.S. Army and served in the 26th Division in France during World War I.

 "After his platoon had gained its objective along a railroad embankment, Private First Class Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon by an enemy machinegun from 100 yards.

"From a standing position on the railroad track, fully exposed to view, he opened fire at once, but failing to silence the gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed, through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement, falling within 25 yards of the gun with his right leg nearly severed above the knee and with several bullet holes in his body.

"With undaunted courage he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing two of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew." —from George Dilboy’s Medal of Honor citation

Dilboy was mortally wounded during the battle and became the first Greek-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

As per his father’s request, was buried in his birthplace in Greece. After a funeral procession through the streets of his Alatsata his casket, draped with the American flag, was placed in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Presentation to lie in state. However, this church fell into disrepair, and Dilboy's grave was desecrated, during the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1923.

At the request of President Warren Harding, Pfc. Dilboy’s remains were returned to the United States in 1922. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 12, 1923.

This text is from the official citations, military historical records, obituaries and other text posted on the Internet, including, and the Military Times Hall of Valor.

Last Reviewed/Updated: