- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Company G, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Division "Big Red One", U.S. Army (Company G, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Division "The Big Red One" U.S. Army)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Joseph T. Dawson (0-452348), Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Commanding Officer, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944, in France. Captain Dawson, in the initial landing on the coast of France, disembarked under a hail of enemy machine gun and rifle fire and, with utmost calmness, proceeded to organize a large group of men who were floundering near their bullet-riddled craft and led them ashore. However, upon reaching the beach, he found that his company was pinned down by direct fire from three enemy machine guns which were placed in an enemy strongpoint in a cliff immediately beyond the heavily mined sands. With absolute disregard for his own personal safety, Captain Dawson moved from his position of cover on to the mine field deliberately drawing the fire of the enemy machine guns in order that his men might be free to move. This heroic diversion succeeded and his combat group crossed the beach to move into the assault on the enemy strongpoint. During this action, Captain Dawson was wounded in the leg. In a superb display of courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, Captain Dawson although wounded, led a successful attack into the enemy stronghold. Captain Dawson's outstanding leadership, gallantry and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
HQ 1st U.S. Army, General Order No. 31, 1 July, 1944