‘A FORGOTTEN HERO’
James”Papa”Parsons, an eastern Cabell County resident and an Air Force veteran, submitted this article regarding a relative of his who served in World War I:
Walter Verlin Dial was my second cousin, son of Albert Callie and Letha Ross Dial of Huntington. He attended the first class of Huntington High School in September 1916. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, and Verlin joined the U.S. Army on May 10, 1917.
He trained at Fort Benjamin Harrison, became a 2nd Lieutenant and on Sept. 11, 1917, sailed for France. He was assigned to company B, 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Division, AEF, and was on the firing line from July 12 to Oct. 4, 1918.
On Oct. 4, five weeks before the armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, he was killed in action and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.
His citation reads:
“The President of the United States, authorized by an act of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (posthumously) to Lt. Walter V. Dial, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action, while serving with 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, 1st Division, AEF, near Fleville, France, 5 October, 1918. Lt. Dial displayed exceptional courage in leading his platoon in attacking and breaking up German machine gun nests, under heavy artillery and machine gun fire. Although he was wounded, Lt. Dial refused to be evacuated and continued to advance until he was killed. General Orders War Department, General Orders No. 68 (1920).”
Lt. Dial is buried in Woodmere Cemetery, south of the mausoleum. His tombstone reads:
“Lieutenant W. Verlin Dial, December 29, 1894-October 4, 1918, Killed in France.”
I’m now in the process of having a monument erected at his grave site, with the citation from President Woodrow Wilson.