William F. Dean

William F. Dean

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William F. Dean

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William Frishe Dean, Sr. (August 1, 1899 – August 24, 1981) was a major general in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 20 and 21, 1950, during the Battle of Taejon in South Korea. Dean was also the highest ranking American officer captured by the North Koreans during the Korean War.

Born in Illinois, Dean attended the University of California at Berkley before graduating with a commission in the US Army through the Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) in 1921. Slowly rising up the ranks in the inter-war years, Dean worked a desk job in Washington D.C. for much of World War II before being transferred to the 44th Infantry Division which he later commanded during its final days of the war, winning a Distinguished Service Cross.

Dean is best known for commanding the 24th Infantry Division at the outbreak of the Korean War. Dean led the division for several weeks in unsuccessful delaying battles against the North Koreans, before he led his division in making a last stand at Taejon. During the confused retreat from that city, Dean was separated from his soldiers and eventually captured by the North Koreans. He would remain in North Korean custody near P'yongyang for the remainder of the war. After the end of the conflict, Dean returned to the United States to a hero's welcome. He retired from the army soon after and lived a quiet life until his death.


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