Staff Sergeant John R. Dale enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps, September 1939. After recruit training he joined the newly formed First Defense Battalion in October 1941, and shortly thereafter, the Battalion was ordered to Wake Island. T
he Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 and attacked Wake Island the same day. They bombed Wake daily and on 11 December attempted to land; however, Marine five-inch shore battery guns sank several ships causing the Japanese to withdraw. He was the pointer on the gun that sank the first Japanese ship, the Hayate.
The Japanese lost 11 ships, 29 aircraft and more than 5,700 men killed. Also, the guns he pointed for killed all of a Japanese landing force, except two Japanese prisoners taken in the action; thereby taking part in a historic battle that contributed significantly to fortifying the will of the American people to win World War II.
The Wake Island defenders were captured and taken to China to become a part of the Japanese labor force. They were released 13 September 1945 and he was discharged 28 February 1946. His many awards and decorations include the Purple Heart U.S. Prisoner of War Medal, Oklahoma Cross of Valor and Oklahoma Prisoner of War Medal.