Cover photo for Gm2C Harold Lee Dick, U.S. Navy's Obituary
Gm2C Harold Lee Dick, U.S. Navy Profile Photo

Gm2C Harold Lee Dick, U.S. Navy

Gunner’s Mate Second Class Harold Lee Dick, US Navy, age 22, of Tipton, MO, was killed in action on July 24, 1944, off the Tinian Island of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, while serving aboard the USS Colorado.

He was born February 12, 1922, in Tipton, the only son of Louis William Dick and Amanda Jane (Gish) Dick.

Harold Lee attended Moniteau County Schools, both in the country and at Tipton Elementary. When he completed his formal education, he enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps, Pilot Grove, MO, at the age of 17.

In May 1941, at the age of 19, Harold Lee completed his enlistment in the Navy as an Apprentice Seaman. His bootcamp training was at Camp Barry, Great Lakes, IL. By late August or early September, Harold Lee was assigned to the battleship USS Colorado on the West Coast.

Eventually the ship was part of the Marianas invasion (Operation Forager). On the morning of July 24, 1944, the ship was attacked by Japanese gunfire. There were 39 casualties.

Upon his death, his remains were secured on the ship until it reached Saipan, where he was buried.

In 1950, they re-examined his case and it was determined that he was unidentifiable. Later sources suggest that the “unknown” designation was mostly due to a simple mis-spelling of his last name. His remains, then designated as X-39, were interred at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Philippines.

Harold was posthumously awarded The Purple Heart, the American Defense Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.

More than 50 years later, Harold’s identity was traced through DNA samples from his sister, Mary Jane (Dick) Neiderwimmer, and his first cousin, Mildred Sue (McNeal) Oswald. In 2017, his remains were moved from Manila to Hawaii and later to Delaware, when positive identification was made and a final death certificate was soon issued.

Surviving are first cousins, Mildred Sue (McNeal) Oswald, of Otterville, MO, and Charles McNeal, of Paola, KS.

He was followed in death by his father in 1975, his mother in 1983; his sister in 2016; and numerous cousins.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 10, 2020, at Heckart Funeral Home in Sedalia, MO, with Rev. Hal McNeal officiating.

A visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. until service time Saturday at the funeral home, where letters and other memorabilia will be on display.

Casket bearers will be Sailors of the United States Navy.

Honorary bearers will be members of the American Legion Edgar Cole Post #304, Tipton, MO.

Harold Lee Dick will be laid to rest in his hometown of Tipton, MO, at the Masonic Cemetery, with full military honors.

Community participation is welcomed and encouraged as we bring our hero home.

From the USS Colorado Alumni tribute to shipmates killed or missing in action, including Harold Lee Dick: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of those who die faithful to Him.” Psalm 116:15.
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