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Richard J. O'Malley

12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division

Major, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:




Grave Location:

Plot A, Row 14, Grave 21

Maj. Richard J. O’Malley had the nickname ‘Iron Major’ because of his commanding and inspiring presence and was considered the best combat leader by his mentor, Assistant Division Commander Brig. Gen. Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., son of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. He was known as a fearless leader who would often shout “Follow me!” as he led his battalion from the front.

Richard J. O'Malley as a cadet.

O’Malley led his men through heavy enemy fire on Utah Beach during D-Day and assumed command of the 2ndBattalion, 12thInfantry six days later. Under O’Malley’s command, the 2ndBattalion successfully liberated Montebourg and captured the key port of Cherbourg on June 26, 1944. Positioning his men to fight for the liberation of Saintenty on July 16, 1944, O’Malley was shot and killed by a sniper.  

Artillery officers from the 4th Division, 79th Division, and 9th Division participate in shelling of Cherbourg by radioing back to their units the location of their hits.
A memorial erected in Major O'Malley's honor in France.

Awards: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Richard J. O'Malley is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot A, Row 14, Grave 21.