Jump to content

Legion of Merit to Manhattan Project Pioneer!

Allan H.

Recommended Posts

Here is a recent eBay score that has provided me with a great amount of satisfaction. How often do we find a medal that is named to an individual whose Wikipedia  page shows up instantly when the name is put in the Google search engine? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_H._Dudley John Henderson Dudley was a member of the class of 1930 at West Point we he graduated 28th in his class. He was originally branched Cavalry, but switched to Engineers where he truly made his mark.


As war was raging in Europe and in the China, Dudley was the Area Engineer in various locations in New York. During his tenure at various locations in the area he fell under the command of Colonel James C. Marshall. Marshall was given a new assignment in June 1942 as district engineer of the Manhattan District, which was responsible for the development of nuclear weapons. Marshall had Major Dudley transferred to the Manhattan District on 25 October 1942, and promoted to lieutenant colonel. Dudley was given a special assignment: to find a remote location for the Manhattan Project's Project Y in the vicinity of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dudley toured potential sites with Robert Oppenheimer, Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves, Edwin McMillan and others and eventually found a location at  the Los Alamos Ranch School which eventually became the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico.


In 1943, Dudley left the Manhattan District and transferred to 929th Engineer Aviation Regiment and later took command of the 931st Engineer Aviation Regiment. He was promoted to colonel. The 931st saw service in New Guinea where they built the Mokerang Airfield in the Admiralty Islands. The 931st also saw service in Hollandia and participated in the Battle of Motoai. The 931st Engineer Aviation Regiment eventually became the 931st Engineer Combat Group where it moved to Leyte and later Luzon. Colonel Dudley was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service during the war. 


John Dudley eventually rose to the rank of Brigadier General and retired as assistant Commandant of the Engineer School after 30 years of service. He earned an olc to the LOM for his post war performance.


Here is his LOM...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is some damage to one of the arms of the cross. I would assume that the medal was dropped at some point. The good news is that the medal will most likely be displayed with the named side of the medal displayed.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

A remarkable find Allan, it’s a reminder that knowledge is power when dealing with engraving. Some might pass on it wondering if it was legit. I think the damage is part of the storied life of the medal and as a collection piece is part of the character of the piece. Beautiful find my friend

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...



A fantastic post, what a remarkable piece of history, I've always been interested in the many aspects of the Manhattan Project. Thank you for showing it.


Best wishes,



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...