Merchant Marine Heroes: Citations for Distinguished Service Medal
Awarded for "Heroism Beyond the Call of Duty" during World War II

Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medals Issued for the President
by Admiral Emory Scott Land
Chairman, U.S. Maritime Commission

*Asterisk indicates Distinguished Service Medal awarded posthumously

James Byron AdamsThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

James Byron Adams
Master of SS Daniel Huger 05/09/43

For distinguished service beyond the line of duty.

His ship was docked at a North African port [Bone, Algeria] delivering her cargo of war material--among which was 6,000 tons of high octane gasoline in barrels--when the port was attacked by seventeen enemy bombing planes. Two anti-personnel bombs struck the dock close to the port quarter of the ship, and fragments of these bombs pierced two holds containing the gasoline. Immediately fires were started between decks, and terrific explosions sprayed burning fuel over half the ship. The crew fought the fires for forty-five minutes, but, in spite of their heroic efforts, the flames were soon rising two hundred feet into the air.

Only when the fire was obviously beyond control with the limited means at hand, and it was apparent that to stay longer aboard would result in possible sacrifice of his crew, did Captain Adams reluctantly order abandon ship. Shortly thereafter, fire boats and shore fire-fighting equipment arrived, and he, with a small party of volunteers from his crew, re-boarded the flaming ship in an attempt to control the fire with foamite. Although their lives were at stake every moment, he and his gallant men fought the fire for six hours eventually saving their ship and half of its vital cargo.

His indomitable determination to save his ship and its cargo, and his courageous and efficient leadership, were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Adams lived in Houston TX. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

George B. Allen
Chief Mate on SS American 06/11/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

A torpedo struck the stern of his ship demolishing the rudder and propeller, blowing the steering engine through the top of the after house, and wrecking the crew's quarters. He formed a rescue party which, while the ship was sinking, went aft into the wreckage of the crew's quarters below the main deck and carried out five injured men trapped in the wreckage.

His extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety in thus rescuing members of his crew will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Allen was a resident of Oakland CA.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Gustav Franke Alm
Carpenter on SS Angelina 10/17/42

For extraordinary heroism under unusual hazards.

His ship was traveling in a convoy which, due to extremely heavy seas and winds of gale force, had become scattered [Convoy ON-137]. Near midnight a torpedo struck and the ship sank rapidly. Alm, with about forty of his shipmates, managed to clear the ship in a lifeboat, but the seas were too great for the heavily-laden boat which swamped and capsized. A number of the men who were thrown into the icy waters managed to cling to the overturned hull, but during the night the seas washed the exhausted men off, one by one, until only he and four others remained.

The seas continued to build up, and first one and then another of Alm's four companions was washed off, but, by feats of courage and strength, he hauled them back onto the upturned boat. At dawn a rescue corvette appeared and, with great difficulty, was maneuvered alongside. Lines were thrown to the overturned boat and the carpenter secured them around the shoulders of each man in succession until all were hauled to the deck of the rescue ship.

Another line was thrown to Alm, but his efforts in rescuing the others seemed to have exhausted his strength and he fell into the sea between the lifeboat and the corvette. Although crushed several times against the side of the corvette by the heaving lifeboat, he managed, by supreme effort, to secure a line around himself and was hauled unconscious to the ship's deck.

His magnificent courage and disregard of his own safety in saving the lives of his shipmates constitute a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Alm was from Bronx, NY.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

George W. Alther, Jr.*
Second Mate on SS Timothy Pickering 10/14/43

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

The vessel in which he was serving in 1941 was bombed by enemy planes and again a ship in which he served in 1942 was bombed and sunk. During an enemy air attack on a Sicilian port [Avola, Sicily] his third wartime vessel, loaded with ammunition, T.N.T., aviation gasoline, and British troops, was hit by a 500-pound bomb. The ship was split in two--ammunition exploded in the holds--and the water around the ship was a surface of burning gasoline. The Gunnery Officer was wounded on the lower deck amidship which was enveloped by flames, but with utter disregard for his own safety, Second Officer Alther went to his assistance and in so doing gave his life.

In unhesitatingly risking, and subsequently giving, his life in an heroic attempt to rescue a wounded fellow officer he maintained and enhanced the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Alther, 25 years old, was from Melrose, MA


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Fred Aubry Anderson
Able Seaman on SS Samuel Parker 07/19/43

For heroism under enemy action.

His ship, SS Samuel Parker, supporting our landing on the Sicily beachhead, was unloading high explosives and aviation gasoline when a wave of enemy planes strafed the ship with incendiary and explosive bullets. Several of these hit into open hatches setting fire to the cargo. Though an explosion which might completely demolish the ship was imminent, Able Seaman Anderson and the Chief Officer [Nikolai K. Storkersen] unhesitatingly descended into one hold with fire hose and extinguished the fires in the ammunition, and then, stopping only long enough to strap on foamite shoulder tanks, descended into the other hold and extinguished the gasoline fires.

His heroism in the face of almost certain death was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Anderson, born in 1921 in Amite LA, entered the U. S. Marine Corps in September 1943, and the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal was presented to Private First Class Anderson by Captain Edward Macauley in the presence of Lieutenant General Alexander A. Vandegrift, Marine Corps Commandant, and Major General Field Harris, in charge of Marine Corps Aviation. MAST Magazine November 1944. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Clyde Neil Andrews
Second Mate on SS Heffron 07/05/42

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

The ship upon which he served was without defense armament, except for two 30 caliber machine guns, mounted without protective shielding, on the bridge [PQ-16] . During six days of continuous attack, Andrews manned one of these guns, and aided in successfully standing off numerous dive-bombing attacks. On one occasion, while picking up survivors from another vessel, two enemy bombers attacked within a hundred feet of his ship. Andrews' position was sprayed with machine gun bullets--his life jacket was nearly torn off by the enemy's fire--but he continued to pour bullets into the nose of the nearest dive-bomber, causing it to lift from its dive and over-shoot with a string of four bombs. Homeward-bound his ship was mined and sunk [QP-13]. On this occasion, Andrews, with complete disregard for his own safety, exhibited exceptional courage and skill in moving injured men into the lifeboats.

His personal courage and devotion to duty will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Andrews lived in Seattle WA.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Harold T. Andrews*
Ordinary Seaman on SS West Nohno 09/15/42 [Suez, Egypt]

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

In the course of an inspection of the suction lines in the forepeak tank, an Engineer Officer had been overcome by gases. Ordinary Seaman Andrews and the Boatswain, carrying lifelines, voluntarily went down into the deep tank to rescue him. In order to reach the unconscious man, the rescuers were forced to successively enter two tanks through manholes only sufficiently large to admit the passage of their bodies. Due to the physical difficulty of the rescue, both Andrews and the Boatswain lost consciousness before the rescue was finally accomplished by other means quickly brought to the scene. All three unconscious men were finally hauled up on deck. The Boatswain and the Engineer Officer shortly regained consciousness, but Andrews failed to respond to all resuscitation efforts.

Though not wholly successful in his endeavor, Andrews unhesitatingly risked and subsequently gave his life in an attempt to save a shipmate. This constituted a degree of heroism in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Harold T. Andrews, 18 years old, was from Norfolk, VA. Buried North Africa American Cemetery Location E-13-19.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Fred Carlos Archibald
Chief Steward on SS Admiral Halstead 02/19/42 to 02/26/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

For eighteen months the ship in which he was serving operated in the Southwest Pacific under especially hazardous conditions, as it was at all times in the danger zone, was unescorted, and only lightly armed. In an attack on Port Darwin, [Australia] and on the nine succeeding days, when most of the crew had left the ship, he with his Captain and four officers and men, manned the two machine guns, and so successfully defended the ship that it was the only one of twelve merchant vessels in the harbor not destroyed.

After the first attack, this small group protestingly left the ship upon orders of the military authorities, but subsequently returned, got underway, and took their ship out into the harbor each morning and returned to the dock each night to discharge cargo, so as not to endanger the dock during daylight. Because of the indomitable determination and courage of these six men, they succeeded in delivering the gasoline so vitally necessary to Army operations.

His loyalty to his ship and his devotion to duty have added another inspirational chapter to the history of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Archibald lived in San Francisco CA.


David C. AustinThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

David C. Austin
Master of SS President Fillmore 06/04/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

His ship, loaded with 5,000 tons of high explosives, had just arrived at a small Aleutian port, with troop reinforcements when Japanese bombers bore in from the west in the first of three attacks within two days. Because of the explosive nature of her cargo, and the ammunition stored on the docks, it was necessary to move the ship outside the harbor at each attack for the reason that a single bomb hit might destroy both ship and station. On each such occasion, the attacking planes followed intent upon the destruction of the ship and her vital cargo, but masterly maneuvering and the deadly fire from her guns beat off the attacks downing two enemy planes and a possible third. During the heaviest of the attacks, ammunition ran low, but volunteers from the merchant crew descended into the ship's hold and moved cargo of high explosives to get at ammunition which would serve her blazing guns.

Captain Austin's cool courage, and the masterly way in which he and his valiant crew met and repulsed heavy enemy attacks, reflect the character and loyalty of the officers and men of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo:Admiral Telfair Knight presents the Distinguished Service Medal to Captain David C. Austin at Alameda, CA as Commander M.E. Crossman, Superintendent of the U.S. Maritime Service Officer Training School looks on. MAST Magazine, September 1944. Austin lived in Oakland CA.


Dale P. BairdThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Dale P. Baird
Second Mate on SS Admiral Halstead 02/19/42 to 02/26/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

For eighteen months the ship in which he was serving operated in the Southwest Pacific under especially hazardous conditions, as it was at all times in the danger zone, was unescorted, and only lightly armed. In an attack on Port Darwin, [Australia] and on the nine succeeding days, when most of the crew had left the ship, he with his Captain and four officers and men, manned the two machine guns, and so successfully defended the ship that it was the only one of twelve merchant vessels in the harbor not destroyed.

After the first attack, this small group protestingly left the ship upon orders of the military authorities, but subsequently returned, got underway, and took their ship out into the harbor each morning and returned to the dock each night to discharge cargo, so as not to endanger the dock during daylight. Because of the indomitable determination and courage of these six men, they succeeded in delivering the gasoline so vitally necessary to Army operations.

His loyalty to his ship and his devotion to duty have added another inspirational chapter to the history of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Dael Porter Baird receives medal from Captain M.E. Crossman, Superintentent of U.S. Maritime Service Officers' School. Photo: Alameda "Neptune" magazine U.S. Maritime Service Officers' School Alameda, November 30, 1944. Baird lived in Portland OR.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

George E. Baker
Ordinary Seaman on SS Matt Ransom 04/11/43

For distinguished conduct under especially hazardous conditions.

While the crew was abandoning the sinking ship in which he served, following enemy torpedo attack, the falls of a lifeboat were fouled with the result that the boat filled with water and its occupants were thrown into the sea. The men immediately swam toward other lifeboats, but the Chief Engineer, who had only one arm, clung to the life net spread over the ship's side. All efforts to get him to another lifeboat failed, whereupon Baker voluntarily climbed down the net while the ship still had considerable headway--released the Chief Engineer--swam with him to a nearby lifeboat, and assisted him into the boat. In performing this gallant act he imperiled his own life, but managed to keep afloat until he was picked up a half hour later.

By risking his life in saving a disabled shipmate under especially hazardous conditions Baker upheld the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Baker, born in 1919, lived in Cleveland OH.


charles N. Bamforth receives DSMThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Charles Nathaniel Bamforth
Master of SS Honolulan 07/22/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

His ship having been torpedoed, he calmly gave orders to abandon ship, but remained onboard with the First Mate and Radio Operator to obtain extra food and equipment for a lifeboat which was standing by close aboard. Just as this task was completed, a second torpedo struck and the ship began to settle rapidly. In company with the other two officers, he jumped over the side and swam to the nearby lifeboat. Mustering his crew on the three lifeboats and discovering that an oiler was missing, he conducted this search until the one missing man was rescued. Having received a signal from a plane that help was on its way, he kept the boats together in the vicinity for four days, and on the fifth day, with no assistance in sight, set his course for the nearest land and finally was picked up by an English steamer.

His calmness, which inspired his crew, his concern for the safety and comfort of his officers and men, his leadership in keeping the boats together were highly commendable and in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Presented May 22, 1944

Photo and text from: Bamforth, Charles A. and Bamforth, Richard A. Iron Jaw: A Skipper Tells His Story, Captain Charles N. Bamforth. Pittsburgh, PA: Dorrance Publishing Co., 2002. Bamforth lived in Swampscott MA.


Bruno Bernard BaretichThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Bruno Bernard Baretich
Second Mate on SS Saint Mihiel 04/09/45

For distinguished service under unusual demands and hazards.

While in convoy, his ship, SS Saint Mihiel, with a capacity load of high octane gasoline, was struck at night by another tanker [SS Nashbulk]. She burst into flames, and the order to abandon ship was immediately given, twenty-three hands escaping and later being picked up by a destroyer escort. Still afloat, but flaming, at daybreak, it was decided to try to salvage her. Together with a repair crew from two destroyers, Baretich, the senior surviving deck officer, and fourteen volunteer crew members, reboarded the ship.

Under his leadership the fires were brought under control, engines turned over, and by utilizing the after emergency steering gear, and stationing himself in the bow -- the bridge having been completely gutted -- the Saint Mihiel was successfully brought to New York. The still smouldering fires were then extinguished, valuable cargo salvaged and the vessel repaired.

His extraordinary courage and skillful seamanship under circumstances which indicated possible annihilation will be a lasting inspiration to all seamen of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Baretich was born in Trieste, Austria in 1902, and lived in Indianapolis IN. He graduated from Fort Trumbull USMS Officer School. He was also known as Barney Burnett, band leader, musician and composer. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry. Read more about Bruno B. Baretich


Charles BirdsallThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Charles Birdsall
Third Steward on SS President Fillmore 12/10/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

During a fire which completely enveloped the midship section of the ship in which he was serving, and when the crackling and roaring blaze was still not under control, shouting was heard from someone trapped in a cabin. When attempts to break into this cabin from the outside failed, Birdsall volunteered to go through the port inner passageway to investigate. At risk of his own life, he dashed through flames and smoke while hoses played on him, and dragged to safety an officer of the United States Navy.

By his heroic conduct, which was absolutely without regard for the safety of his own life, he rescued a shipmate, and in so doing lived up to the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Birdsall's address was in Seattle WA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


James Blaisdell
Master of SS Mary Kinney


Robert Ernest BlakefieldThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Robert Ernest Blakefield
Master of SS Taku 01/13/42

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

At midnight, fire broke out in the holds of an Army transport [USAT Clevedon] moored at a dock in an Alaskan port. In her cargo were many tons of bombs and ammunition consigned to our Aleutian forces. In spite of the most desperate efforts of her own crew the fire rapidly gained headway until the roaring flames forced most of them to abandon her. Captain Blakefield maneuvered his much smaller ship, alongside and brought all his fire fighting equipment to bear; but the fire could not be controlled, and the danger of the transport exploding at the dock momentarily increased.

Mooring lines were then cut, and the smaller ship took on the highly hazardous task of moving the transport away from the dock and beaching her at a distance down the bay. With flames from the burning ship sweeping over his own, Blakefield accomplished this task, and succeeded in getting away before the transport blew up with a force which threw fragments of her hull two or three thousand feet into the air. Had the transport remained at the dock, the explosion would have completely wrecked the dock and caused serious damage to the town.

The heroic action of Captain Blakefield and his gallant crew are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Blakefield, born in 1910, lived in Seattle WA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Murray M. Blum*
Radio Operator on SS Leonidas S. Polk 12/03/43

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

In the middle of the night, his ship, SS Leonidas S. Polk, was steaming in blacked-out convoy through icy North Atlantic waters when it collided with another ship which sank almost immediately. Radio Operator Blum, hearing cries of a drowning survivor who was beyond the range of buoy lines, dived overside into a rough sea filled with wreckage and was last seen swimming away from his ship in search of the distressed man. That he was unsuccessful in his mission does not detract from the glory of his effort, but his heroism was further sanctified when, in his attempt to rescue the drowning man, he gave his own life. [Buried Cambridge American Cemetery Location E-0-51]

His utter disregard of the odds against his own survival was a heroic manifestation of the spirit which so inalienably characterizes the men of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Blum was born in New Haven CT in 1921


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Albert M. Boe*
Chief Engineer on USAT FS-214 04/14/44

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

In the engine room of his transport at the time of an explosion of undetermined origin, Chief Engineer Boe suffered severe burns, ultimately resulting in his death. Despite the excruciating pain he remained in the engine room, after ordering all hands "topside", personally closed all oil line check valves and cut off the generators, thereby controlling the spreading fire. If he had not stayed at his post to perform these acts, which saved the ship and the lives of his shipmates, his life could have been saved.

His extraordinary courage protecting the lives of his shipmates in the face of probable death will be an inspiration to seamen in the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Boe lived in New Orleans LA


Maurice BreenThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Maurice Breen
Purser on SS Sahale 09/12/42 to 09/18/42

For meritorious service beyond the line of duty.

Early in the war, his ship was in a British port when ordered to join a convoy to Russia [PQ-18]. Additional guns were mounted on the ship for this highly dangerous run, and the gun commander called for volunteers from the merchant seamen to man them. Breen volunteered--received a British Merchant Navy A/A Gunnery Certificate after only two days instruction--and was put in charge of a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on the bridge. He stood regular watches at all times, and served his gun throughout a six days running battle with enemy submarines, bombing planes, and torpedo planes.

On one occasion, a low-level Heinkel bomber came in to attack a ship close on the port beam. On the alert, and before other guns could be brought to bear, he gave the plane a lead and brought his line of fire into its line of flight. The plane's starboard engine burst into flame; then exploded, and the bomber was seen to crash into the sea a few seconds later.

Although his duty did not require him to be above deck during enemy attacks, his voluntary acceptance of a dangerous assignment, and his skillful performance of a self-imposed duty, constitute qualities of service which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Breen, who lived in New Orleans, LA, was 36 years old. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Hugh Parks Brown, Jr.
Third Mate on SS City of Alma 06/02/42

For heroism and unfaltering courage under hazardous conditions.

SS City of Alma, struck by a torpedo shortly before midnight, sank immediately with the loss of all but ten hands. Brown, having been thrown into the sea, swam through the thick debris and remained afloat on an improvised raft until daybreak. After locating and assisting to the raft five widely separated shipmates, some of whom were injured, a capsized lifeboat was recovered. Brown succeeded in righting the lifeboat after diving beneath it and puncturing one of its tanks with a hatchet he had salvaged. Aboard the lifeboat he gave orders to cruise the area and came upon four other crew members in the water. Brown unhesitatingly swam to and assisted each safely aboard the craft. A makeshift sail was rigged, course set, and port reached four days later.

By repeatedly risking his life in rescuing shipmates under extremely hazardous conditions, he maintained the highest standards of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Paul H. Browne
Master of SS China Arrow 02/05/42

For heroism and distinguished service under unusual hazards.

The tanker under his command, was carrying fuel to our Eastern seaboard. Without warning, two torpedoes in quick succession exploded in the main tanks. As a consequence, the cargo expansion trunks were blown through the main deck hatches and large quantities of the inflammable cargo were thrown high into the air. The oil, raining back on the ship, became ignited, and the decks were swept by flames. The enemy submarine surfaced about one-quarter of a mile away with evident intent to sink the blazing ship by shell fire. Alert to this maneuver, the Master ordered the crew to abandon ship and lay-off astern, in order to minimize loss of life.

Needless of personal risk from flame and shell fire, he and his Radio Operator remained aboard the blazing ship for nearly three-quarters of an hour rigging a jury antenna and setting up an emergency short wave transmitter to replace the standard equipment which had been wrecked by the explosions. Finally, by the exercise of considerable ingenuity, the emergency radio rig was completed and a continuous call distress signal was sent out. This message was received by shore stations, and rescue of the entire crew was effected 56 hours after the attack.

Captain Browne's personal courage, leadership and high devotion to duty constitute qualities of service which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Browne lived in Nutley NJ.


mrs. buck receives medalThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Paul Buck*
Master of SS Stephen Hopkins 09/27/42

For distinguished service in enemy action.

Two enemy surface raiders suddenly appeared out of the mist to attack the small merchantman in which he was serving as Master. Heavy guns of one raider pounded his ship, and machine gun fire from the other sprayed her decks. He skillfully maneuvered his ship so that the heavier guns could be trained on the raider, and under his supervision his ship exchanged shot for shot with the enemy until the crew of one raider was forced to abandon its sinking ship, and the other enemy ship was forced to withdraw. His calmness under fire and his fearlessness in defending his ship were an inspiration to his crew. With boilers blown up and engines damaged, masts shot away, and ablaze from stem to stern, he reluctantly gave the order to abandon ship. The only serviceable lifeboat being overcrowded, he, unselfishly and heroically, remained on the bridge and went down with his battered ship.

His determination to fight his ship and his perseverance in engaging the enemy to the utmost until his ship was rendered helpless and sinking were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Admiral E. S. Land pins the Distinguished Service Medal on 2nd Lt. Gertrude Buck, Army Nurse Corps, widow of Paul Buck.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

James C. Cameron*
Jr. Third Mate on MS Brilliant 11/18/42

For especially meritorious service under unusual demands and hazards.

When his ship was torpedoed, she listed badly to starboard and began settling rapidly. "Abandon Ship" orders were given, and one boat-load of the crew had already pulled away when the ship righted herself and ceased settling. Junior Third Officer Cameron was the remaining deck officer on board at this time. He continued to supervise arrangements for abandoning ship and, with the heroic assistance of the remaining crew members, he accomplished the extinguishing of deck fires and directed the Chief Engineer to start the engines in an effort to save the ship and her valuable cargo. He then brought her through heavy weather and dangerous waters to the nearest safe port.

During the two days the ship was under way toward land, Cameron remained continuously on the bridge and on deck directing the ship's course. After a safe anchorage was reached, then, in spite of his exhausted condition, he continued necessary arrangements to make his vessel seaworthy for the voyage to the nearest repair port. His skillful handling of this extremely difficult situation, and his willing assumption of responsibility not ordinarily his, were prime factors in saving both ship and crew.

His personal courage and devotion to duty will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Cameron was from New York, NY


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Foster DeWight Carpenter
Chief Mate on SS Daniel Huger 05/09/43

For heroism beyond the call of duty.

His ship was subjected to a two-hour high level bombing attack by seventeen enemy planes [Bone, Algeria]. As a result of a near miss, bomb fragments pierced the hull and the cargo of high octane gasoline exploded. Despite heroic efforts to combat the flames two to three hundred feet high, the fire was soon out of control and the ship was abandoned. Upon arrival of the shore fire brigade it was decided to try to save the ship with foamite. It was necessary to have a few men return to the ship, enter the adjacent hold, and play a hose on the heated bulkhead to prevent the raging fire from spreading. Chief Officer Carpenter was one of four who volunteered to risk his life in an attempt to save part of the cargo, which was so necessary to the continuance of war operations. That the fire was eventually brought under control and most of the cargo saved, was due in no small measure to his outstanding bravery.

His willingness to risk his life to save his ship, and his heroic conduct during the fire are in keeping with the finest traditions of the sea.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Carpenter was born in 1905 and lived in New Orleans LA.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Oscar Chappell*
Able Seaman on SS Dixie Arrow 03/26/42

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

His ship, carrying a full cargo of crude oil, was torpedoed three times within one minute. The first torpedo struck directly below the forward deckhouse, and the other two slightly abaft this point causing the ship to buckle amidship. The explosions immediately ignited the combustible cargo; all amidship and astern sections of the ship were enveloped in flames, and the fire rapidly spread over the ocean surrounding the ship. Injured by the explosions, with blood covering his head and shoulders, Chappell stuck to his post at the helm though the wheelhouse was in flames. He saw seven of his shipmates trapped on the forecastle head. Driven by the wind, the fire was sweeping toward them over the deck, and all escape was cut off by water-borne flames surrounding the bow. Fully aware of his own desperate situation, Chappell put the helm hard right and held the ship into the wind deflecting the flames upon himself, but enabling his shipmates to jump overboard clear of the blazing sea of oil. Placing his own safety beyond all consideration, his last thought and act was to assure the survival of his imperiled shipmates.

His magnificent courage and selfless disregard of his own life constitute a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


Edwin F. Cheney, Jr. merchant marine heroThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Edwin F. Cheney, Jr.
Able Seaman on SS John D. Gill 03/12/42


For heroism above and beyond the call of duty during enemy attack when he released and launched a life-raft from a sinking and burning ship and maneuvered it through a pool of burning oil to clear water by swimming under water, coming up only to breathe. Although he had incurred severe burns about the face and arms in this action, he then guided four of his shipmates to the raft, and swam to and rescued two others who were injured and unable to help themselves. His extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety in thus rescuing his shipmates will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: War at Sea, War Shipping Administration, 1946. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pins Distinguished Service Medal on 25 year old Edwin Cheney, Jr. on Oct. 8, 1942 at the White House as Admiral Land looks on. This photo also was featured in a 1942 LIFE Magazine article. Cheney was from Yeadon, PA


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Samuel L. Cobb*
Master of SS Alcoa Guide 04/16/42

For heroism and especially meritorious service under unusual hazards.

Though mortally wounded early in the action in which his ship was sunk by enemy submarine, he first endeavored to ram the attacker, and then ran through fire to his cabin to recover the Navy Code and other highly confidential papers which he cast overside in a weighted sack. He later died in a lifeboat from wounds and burns caused by these actions.

His extraordinary courage and fidelity to trust will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the Unites States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Cobb, 43 years old, was from West New York, NJ


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Allen G. Collins*
Third Mate on SS John Bascom 12/02/43

For distinguished service under unusual hazards and demands.

The SS John Bascom, in which Collins was serving, was moored in close proximity to an ammunition laden vessel in the harbor of Bari, Italy. An air raid of major proportions soon developed, with the result that many ships were exploding and sinking, including the ammunition vessel near the John Bascom, whose deck cargo became a raging inferno. Many casualties to personnel were caused by flying debris and strafing by enemy planes. Collins served as a member of a gun crew until seriously wounded by the explosion of a bomb.

With no thought of his own safety he managed to assist other men to the only remaining lifeboat, helped lower the boat, manned an oar for the trip to the breakwater and assisted in dragging three additional injured men from the flaming oil covered waters of the harbor. Several days later he died in a local hospital as a result of the injuries he had incurred. [Buried Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Location J-9-53]

Collins' great courage and his self-sacrificing devotion to the task of aiding imperiled shipmates were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Robert A. Constantine
Third Mate on SS John Swett 02/23/45

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

While his ship, SS John Swett, was anchored in Mindoro, Philippine Islands, Constantine debarked with other shipmates to an Army amphibious truck for passage to the mainland. En route, this craft was temporarily lying alongside another Liberty ship, in light condition, which, without warning started her engines ahead and forced the Army boat toward her exposed propeller. In the ensuing chaos twenty-two men jumped over the side, some of whom succeeded in climbing up ropes which had been hanging from the Liberty's deck.

Constantine remained aboard the small boat with three others and received a painful leg injury when she collided with the Liberty ship which continued under way. He then observed a survivor who appeared unconscious, floating in the wake of the Liberty's propeller, and immediately swam to him. Just as he was assisting him aboard the craft it lost buoyancy and sank. He continued to swim to the aid of several shipmates in the rough sea who were without life preservers, lashed one non-swimmer to a floating water can, then gathered floor boards of the sunken boat and distributed them among those in a weakened condition. When finally rescued by Army and Navy craft, Constantine grasped a line thrown from one of the pitching boats and saved two men by allowing them to climb aboard on his shoulders and head. By this time he was so exhausted that he was hauled on board the rescue boat with great difficulty.

His indomitable courage and utter disregard of personal safety in immediately going to the aid of shipmates in peril will be a lasting inspiration to all seamen, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Constantine, born in 1911, was from Brooklyn NY. He attended Fort Trumbull Officer School.


Cleon A. CraigThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Cleon A. Craig
Second Engineer on SS John Adams 05/05/42

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

His ship was torpedoed at night. The torpedo struck directly beneath quarters in which three messmen were sleeping, and the concussion blew the door to their room shut with sufficient force to break the lock. At the same time cargo of aviation gasoline exploded and the entire after deck was ablaze. The liquid fire ran through the alleyway; through the ports, and into the room in which the men were imprisoned. On orders to abandon ship, Craig was hurrying to his boat station when he heard the cries of the trapped men. Running below, he secured an axe from a bulkhead, broke open the door, and released the men from the burning room. Then, with flames roaring around them, he guided and helped the severely burned men up on deck and into a lifeboat.

His high courage and complete disregard of his own safety in thus saving the lives of three of his shipmates will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Craig lived in Three Rivers MI. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Alvin R. Crawford*
Able Seaman on SS Marcus Daly 12/05/44

For heroism beyond the call of duty.

During the initial invasion of the Philippine Islands at Tacloban, Leyte, the SS Marcus Daly, in which Crawford was serving, carried troops and vital war material and, with two other vessels, afforded the principal defenses of the port for several days. During six days and nights of incessant fighting, while troops were being disembarked and her cargo safely discharged, the vessel was at times the only fire power defending the vital Leyte docks. Crawford volunteered and served as a member of the forward gun crew which distinguished itself during countless attacks by repulsing the enemy and bringing down many planes. Two months later, on a subsequent arrival in the Philippines, this same vessel was again attacked by enemy bombers. Again Crawford served as a volunteer member of the gun crew during the engagement in which his ship shot down several Japanese aircraft. One of these bombers, after being hit, crashed and exploded under the forward gun platform, where Crawford was serving, killing him instantly.

His indomitable courage and unselfish service beyond the call of duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Thomas Crawford*
Able Seaman on SS Maiden Creek I 12/31/42

For heroism above and beyond the line of duty.

In the course of the voyage, the ship in which he served had already run into heavy weather and had suffered considerable damage. Before temporary repairs could be made by her crew, she encountered a second storm, of greater intensity. Huge seas were shipped again and again, and the bitter cold caused severe icing which put the ship down by the head. The constant pounding of the seas breached the forepeak and No. 1 hold which began to fill. The ship endeavored to come about and run before the wind and sea, but this maneuver was unsuccessful and it soon became apparent that she would founder in a very short time. Orders were given to abandon ship. The storms had badly damaged all lifeboats, except two, and the crew entered these and were lowered away. Crawford and another able seaman volunteered to lower the boats, though neither were assigned to this station. Both of these men had the opportunity to leave the ship, but chose to remain behind with the full knowledge that their rescue would be impossible, and that they could not hope to survive in the raging seas. Both men went down with their ship.

Able Seaman Crawford's self-sacrificing courage and disregard of his safety for that of his shipmates was in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Crawford was from Chicago, IL.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

George S. Cronk
Second Engineer on SS Stephen Hopkins 09/27/42

For meritorious service under unusual hazards.

Two enemy surface raiders attacked the merchantman upon which he was serving. Heavy guns of one raider pounded his ship, and machine gun fire from the other sprayed her decks at close quarters. Answering shot for shot, the gallant merchantman succeeded in sinking one of the raiders before she finally went under carrying many of her fighting crew with her. Engineer Cronk, sole surviving officer of the stricken ship, took command of the only lifeboat which could be launched. In heavy rain squalls and seas running high, he succeeded in rescuing six survivors who had jumped from the sinking ship.

Then, with nineteen aboard, including four badly wounded, and with no navigational instruments other than the boat compass, a westward course was set to fetch the nearest land 2,200 miles away. The small boat beat her way westward for thirty-one days. Many times heavy weather was encountered, forcing the survivors to put out a sea anchor and heave-to because of high seas. In spite of all efforts in their behalf, three of the wounded died and there were times when delirium threatened, but Cronk's firm leadership overcame all emergencies until a safe landing was made.

His courage and practical leadership, so largely contributory to the ultimate rescue of his shipmates, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: San Francisco Call Bulletin, July 7, 1943.


Allan Bell CurrieThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Allan Bell Currie
Third Mate on SS Admiral Halstead 02/19/42 to 02/26/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

For eighteen months the ship in which he was serving operated in the Southwest Pacific under especially hazardous conditions, as it was at all times in the danger zone, was unescorted, and only lightly armed. In an attack on Port Darwin, [Australia] and on the nine succeeding days, when most of the crew had left the ship, he with his Captain and four officers and men, manned the two machine guns, and so successfully defended the ship that it was the only one of twelve merchant vessels in the harbor not destroyed. After the first attack, this small group protestingly left the ship upon orders of the military authorities, but subsequently returned, got underway, and took their ship out into the harbor each morning and returned to the dock each night to discharge cargo, so as not to endanger the dock during daylight. Because of the indomitable determination and courage of these six men, they succeeded in delivering the gasoline so vitally necessary to Army operations.

His loyalty to his ship and his devotion to duty have added another inspirational chapter to the history of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Currie lived in San Franciso CA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Carl Peter Richard Dahlstrom
Master of SS Lyman Abbott 12/02/43

For heroism in the line of duty.

In a port only a few miles behind the actual battlefront, SS Lyman Abbott was discharging explosive war cargo, when the entire harbor area was hit by a devastating air attack. The force of the explosion of a nearby ship nearly capsized the Lyman Abbott, and a hail of wreckage damaged her lifeboats, tore great holes in her deck, and started fires. Though fire hose lay uselessly severed, and fire extinguishers had been blasted to the deck where they spent their charges, Captain Dahlstrom rallied his men to beat and stamp out the flames until another ship, torn from her moorings and ablaze from stem to stern, bore down upon the Lyman Abbott and forced her crew to abandon ship.

By this time the harbor waters were ablaze with burning oil, but he landed his men through the flames in boats so damaged they were only kept from sinking by the buoyancy of their air tanks. But the Lyman Abbott cargo was vitally needed in support of the invasion and she had to be moved from the burning harbor before she exploded. Volunteers from her crew, under the personal leadership of Captain Dahlstrom, all in some degree wounded or burned, immediately responded--took the crippled and still burning ship out of port--and later returned her to discharge her critical combat material.

Captain Dahlstrom's courageous leadership, in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine, was the inspiration for a valorous crew which would not yield to defeat.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Dahlstrom lived in Forest Hills NY. He was born in Fliseryd, Sweden in 1899.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Charles M. Dake, Jr.
Boatswain on SS Scottsburg/SS George Davis 06/14/42 and 02/09/43

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

When the SS Scottsburg was torpedoed and sunk within a few minutes, Ordinary Seaman Dake, single-handedly launched No. 3 lifeboat, took command and picked up twelve shipmates. Rescued shortly thereafter by another ship in the same convoy, their rescue ship was in turn torpedoed one hour later [SS Kahuku]. As this second vessel went down, Dake, being unable to launch a damaged lifeboat dived into the sea, swam alongside a shipmate, who was an inexpert swimmer, and encouraged him until both safely reached a raft. On a subsequent voyage while serving as boatswain on the SS George Davis, his vessel collided in convoy with another ship which sank shortly thereafter. Dake, seeing one of the gun crew from the sunken vessel struggling in the heavy sea, unhesitatingly went down the side on a cargo net and rescued him. Later he saw another drowning seaman, too weak to catch a life line, and again went over the side and succeeded in getting him on to a lowered raft and then safely aboard the ship.

His extraordinary courage and expert seamanship in the face of danger saved many lives and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Dake lived in Overland Park KS.


Francis DalesThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Francis A. Dales
Deck Cadet-Midshipman on SS Santa Elisa 08/11 to 08/15/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

His ship was a freighter carrying drums of high-octane gasoline, one of two American ships, in a small British convoy to Malta. Orders were to "get through at all costs". Heavily escorted, the convoy moved into the Mediterranean, and before noon of that day the enemy's attack began. From then on the entire convoy was under constant attack from Axis planes and submarines. Assigned the command of an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the bridge, Dales contributed to the successful defense of his ship for three days.

At 4:00 A.M. on the morning of the fourth day, torpedo boats succeeded in breaking through and two attacked from opposite sides. Sneaking in close under cover of the darkness one opened point-blank fire on Dales's position with four .50 caliber machine guns, sweeping the bridge and killing three of his gun crew in the first bursts. The other sent its deadly torpedo into the opposite side of the freighter. Neither the heavy fire from the first torpedo boat nor the torpedo from the second drove Dales and his crew from their gun. With only flashes to fire at in the darkness, he found the target and the first boat burst into flames and sank. But the torpedo launched by the other had done its deadly work. The high-test gasoline cargo ignited and the American ship was engulfed in flames. Reluctantly orders were given to abandon her.

Two hours later, the survivors were picked up by a British destroyer, which then proceeded to take in tow a tanker [SS Ohio] that had been bombed and could not maneuver. After five hours constant dive-bombing, the tanker was hit again--her crew abandoned her--and the destroyer was forced to cut her loose. But the cargo she carried was most important to the defense of Malta, and it had to get through. The rescue destroyer and another destroyer steamed in-- lashed themselves on either side of the stricken tanker--and dragged her along in a determined attempt to get her to port.

Dales and four others volunteered to go aboard the tanker and man her guns in order to bring more fire power to their defense. The shackled ships, inching along and making a perfect target, were assailed by concentrated enemy airpower. All that day wave after wave of German and Italian bombers dived at them and were beaten off by a heavy barrage. Bombs straddled them, scoring near misses, but no direct hits were made until noon the next day, when the tanker finally received a bomb down her stack which blew out the bottom of her engine room. Though she continued to settle until her decks were awash, they fought her through until dusk that day brought them under the protection of the hard fighting air force out of Malta.

The magnificent courage of this young cadet constitutes a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Dales, 20 years old, was from Augusta, GA. [Photo courtesy Francis Dales]
Polaris Magazine, July 1943, article about Dales


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

William Dalton
Chief Engineer on MS Bidwell 04/06/42

For heroism and meritorious service beyond the line of duty.

When a torpedo struck the tanker in which he served, the explosion blew through the after deck. Cargo oil was ignited, enveloping that part of the ship in flames. Deck steam lines were ruptured, and the steering gear jammed in hard left position, causing the ship to circle at full speed. In this apparently hopeless situation most of the crew abandoned ship forward and others were preparing to launch a boat from the after deck. Dalton first shut off the steam from the broken lines. This enabled him to see the efforts of the remaining crew on the after deck. He ran aft through the fire and directed them to stand by the ship. With their aid, he stopped the engines and brought the fire under control. The emergency steering gear was then connected; the crew who had abandoned ship were picked up; and the ship successfully made port.

His high courage and complete disregard of his own safety, so largely contributory to the salvage of his ship and the safety of her crew, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Dalton lived in Yeadon PA.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Gus W. Darnell
Master of SS Cardonia 03/07/42

For distinguished service in enemy action.

Attacked by an enemy submarine, he so skillfully maneuvered his ship as to cause two torpedoes to miss. As his ship was unarmed, he attempted to run from the submarine which was also attacking by gun fire at close range. For over an hour he strove to out-distance the foe. Only when enemy shells had started two serious fires, wrecked the superstructure, demolished all but one of the lifeboats, and so disabled the steering gear that the ship was out of control, did he reluctantly give orders to abandon ship.

The only usable lifeboat had been punctured by shell fragments, and while engaged in lowering away, a shell hit the fuel tank and showered the crew with burning oil, yet he so expertly supervised this operation that all but one of his crew got safely away with twenty-two men crowded into the boat and the remainder distributed on three life rafts. Making temporary repairs to the overcrowded lifeboat, he set sail for the nearest land, thirty miles away, disembarked most of the men, and endeavored to set out again into a heavy sea for the men left on the life rafts. Only when assured that these men had been rescued by a naval vessel, did he cease his determined efforts to go to their assistance.

His expert ship handling, his courageous leadership, and his fine concern for the safety of his crew were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Darnell, 43 years old, was from Houston, TX


Davis, Elsworth


John M. DodgeThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John M. Dodge
Master of SS Malay 01/19/42

For meritorious service in the line of duty.

In the early morning hours, his ship was attacked by shell fire doing heavy damage to the bridge and port quarter. The wheel was ordered hard right at the first shot and the ship maneuvered inshore in an effort to elude the submarine. Two hours later a torpedo hit amidship. As a result of this explosion, a tremendous hole was torn in the starboard side; another burst through the deck; the telemotor steering gear was put out of commission; and she took a heavy list to starboard A quick inspection of the damage indicated that the ship might be capable of proceeding under her own power, and the Master determined to bring her into the nearest port. The hand steering gear was put into commission, and emergency repairs were made to broken steam lines and control gear in the engine room. Then, while under way, the equalizing valves were opened to put her on an even keel and the ship was brought safely into an American port.

His courage, leadership, and exemplary seamanship, so largely contributory to the salvage of his ship, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Dodge lived in Baltimore MD. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Elmer C. DonnellyThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Elmer C. Donnelly
Deck Cadet-Midshipman on SS Daniel Huger 05/09/43

For heroism beyond the call of duty.

His ship was subjected to a two-hour high level bombing attack by seventeen enemy planes [Bone, Algeria]. As a result of a near miss, bomb fragments pierced the hull and the cargo of high octane gasoline exploded. Despite heroic efforts to combat the flames two to three hundred feet high, the fire was soon out of control and the ship was abandoned. Upon arrival of the shore fire brigade it was decided to try to save the ship with foamite.

It was necessary to have a few men return to the ship, enter the adjacent hold, and play a hose on the heated bulkhead to prevent the raging fire from spreading. Cadet-Midshipman Donnelly was one of five who volunteered to risk his life in an attempt to save part of the cargo, which was so necessary to the continuance of war operations. That the fire was eventually brought under control and most of the cargo saved, was due in no small measure to his outstanding bravery.

His willingness to risk his life to save his ship, and his heroic conduct during the fire are in keeping with the finest traditions of the sea.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Donnelly, 18, lived in North Weymouth MA. Photo: We'll Deliver: Early History of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 1938-1956.


Walter S. Downs


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Arthur J. Drechsler
Jr. Third Engineer on SS Richard Hovey 03/29/44

For distinguished service beyond the line of duty.

Adrift in a damaged lifeboat under the scorching sun of the Arabian Sea, thirty-nine men faced death as a result of thirst. Their ship, SS Richard Hovey, had been torpedoed by an enemy submarine which had viciously strafed the lifeboat with machine-gun fire wounding some of the survivors and puncturing all but one of the fresh water tanks. With no other tools than an axe, pliers, a screwdriver and a steel punch, Drechsler, utilizing metal brackets from a foot rest, two empty metal food containers, the metal cone from a storm oil bag, and the rubber hose from a lifeboat pump, improvised an ingenious still which produced a ration of eleven ounces of potable water per man throughout the sixteen days before rescue.

His resourcefulness and ingenuity which contributed so largely to the chances of survival for his shipmates will be an inspiration to men of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Drechsler lived in Whitestone NY.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Ragnar Frederick Eklund
Master of SS Exmoor 04/06/42

For especially meritorious service under unusual demands and hazards. His was the only American ship in a convoy of seven, all of which wore sunk in the Bay of Bengal by heavy shell fire from three enemy cruisers. The first salvo threw him from the bridge into the ship's office, breaking one or two of his ribs and injuring his left ankle. He returned to the bridge and ordered the bridge watch below to the lifeboats and remained alone on the bridge at the helm of his sinking ship, directing the lowering of the boats. He did not leave the bridge until the forward deck was completely under water.

Although the loss of life from the other ships was high, Captain Eklund managed to land his entire crew safely on the Indian Coast with the survivors of the other ships. There the injured were treated, and the entire company set out on foot through twelve miles of dense jungle to the nearest river village. From this point, the survivors were taken in buses to Cattuck, 50 miles from the coast, and thence returned to Calcutta.

His extraordinary achievement and leadership will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Eklund was from Sunnyside, NY


John E. EllisonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John E. Ellison
Master of SS Domino 06/02/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

In the early morning hours, an alert watch observed a surfaced submarine approaching from astern at high speed. General alarm was sounded, and Captain Ellison instantly ordered full right rudder so that the stern gun could be quickly brought to bear. The submarine apparently did not sight the blackened-out ship until it was about four hundred feet nearly abeam, and in no position to fire a torpedo. Upon sighting the swinging ship, the submarine opened fire with its machine guns. Almost simultaneously, the ship swung her heavy stern gun into position. Three shots were fired--the second registered a direct hit on the conning tower--and the submarine crash-dived. Fearing a second attack, Captain Ellison cleverly maneuvered his ship in a circle of zig-zags for three hours, and later safely brought her into a nearby port. It was not until a closely following ship reported light oil patches in the same locality, that it was known that the submarine was probably sunk. [The sub was not sunk.]

His determination to fight his ship, and his expert maneuvering contributed largely to saving the ship, her cargo, and her crew.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Ellison, born in Norway in 1895, and lived in Upper Darby PA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Even Evenson
Master of SS Benjamin Contee 08/16/43

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

His ship, the SS Benjamin Contee, was carrying 1,800 prisoners of war when she was struck at night by an aerial torpedo from an enemy dive bomber which glided in with stilled engines. The torpedo struck the forward holds in which 900 prisoners were confined, blew off the hatches, and killed and injured more than three hundred. The ship immediately began settling by the head as the sea rushed in the gaping hole forward, and the surviving prisoners swarmed out of the holds over the forward decks in panic, throwing liferafts overside and releasing the lifeboats from their davits.

Exercising forceful command, Captain Evensen herded the panic-stricken prisoners from the forward to the after decks. Then, releasing the remaining 900 prisoners from the after holds, he flooded those holds to bring his ship on an even keel. Supported by the fine discipline of a loyal crew, he was able to bring his ship into a safe port and to deliver the surviving prisoners into proper military hands.

Captain Evensen's complete mastery of a critical situation prevented a tragedy of huge human and material proportions. His courage, seamanship, and disciplinary control in a time of grave danger were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Evensen was born in Norway in 1885. He lived in New Orleans, LA.


Edward Michael FetherstonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Edward Michael Fetherston
Third Mate on SS Heffron 07/05/42

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

The ship in which he served was without defense armament, except for two .30 caliber machine guns mounted without protective shielding on the bridge [PQ-16]. During six days of continuous attack Fetherston manned one of these guns and aided in successfully standing-off numerous dive-bombing attacks. On one occasion, while picking up survivors from another ship, two enemy bombers attacked within a hundred feet of his ship. Fetherston's position was heavily sprayed with machine gun bullets from the attacking planes, but he continued to pour bullets into the nose of the nearest dive-bomber causing it to lift from its dive and over-shoot with a string of four bombs. Homeward bound his ship again encountered enemy action and was mined and sunk [QP-13]. On this occasion, Fetherston, with complete disregard for his own safety, exhibited exceptional courage and skill in moving injured men into the lifeboats and personally rescued an injured and helpless fireman whose life would have been lost without his aid.

His admirable courage and devotion to duty will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Fetherston, 27 years old, was from Norfolk, VA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Louis George FinchThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Louis George Finch
Able Seaman on SS Emidio 12/20/41

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

While his ship was under heavy shrapnel shell fire, he volunteered to go aloft with the First Mate and assisted him in rigging an emergency antenna. In the ensuing action the ship was sunk and most of the life boats damaged by shell fire and a torpedo hit. Finch was among the last to abandon ship with the wounded in a small and overloaded work boat which was in danger of swamping in rough seas. He voluntarily went over the side in order to lighten the boat load, and held onto the gunwales until picked up by another life boat about one and one-half hours later.

His extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Finch, 23 years old, was from Lowell, MA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Samuel C. Frey
Master of USAT David W. Branch 11/24/43

For distinguished service beyond the line of duty.

While in Alaskan waters, his ship, USAT David W. Branch, intercepted an S.O.S. from a grounded vessel [SS John P. Gaines]. With full speed in the perilous sea which prevailed, he arrived at the given position and observed the stranded ship immersed to her main deck with eighteen hands still aboard. Ordering a motor lifeboat launched, the "Branch" provided a lee through skillful maneuvering in the dangerous shoal waters. After the stricken crew was rescued the motor failed. Seeing their precarious situation, with heavy seas shipping broadside over the boat, and the crew unable to control the manned oars, he ordered the shooting of two lines, the second of which was secured, thus enabling the craft to come alongside and effect the safe transfer of these seamen to his ship with only a few minor injuries.

His expert seamanship and utter disregard for personal safety in going to the aid of distressed seamen were in keeping with the highest standards of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Frey lived in Edmonds WA. He was born on Vancouver Island, Canada in 1909.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

August Friberg
Chief Engineer on SS China Arrow 02/05/42

For especially meritorious service under unusual hazards.

The ship on which he was serving suffered a torpedo hit exploding in the oil tanks and setting them and the 'tween decks on fire. He worked his way aft along the outside of the ship's rail through intense heat, smoke and oil covered decks to the main smothering line, and turned the steam on the cargo tanks and 'tween decks. His action resulted in checking the fires sufficiently to save the lives of crew members which, without doubt, would otherwise have been lost.

His extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

August Friberg, 63 years old, was from Beaumont TX.


Hawkins FudskeThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Hawkins Fudske*
Chief Mate on SS Esso Bolivar (Panama flag) 03/07/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

Finding himself as First Mate, in command when the Master of the ship was killed while the vessel was under heavy shell and torpedo fire from an enemy submarine, he took charge of the only remaining lifeboat. As the boat was being lowered shells continued to burst on the side of the ship overhead. A large shell fragment badly mangled one of his arms, but he nevertheless urged his men to keep lowering, and himself actually helped in this operation despite the severity of his wounds. As the boat reached the water, he was struck again in another burst of shell fire and this time mortally wounded. Realizing, in his dying condition, that the safety of the men depended on getting their boat away from the side of the ship, his last words were: "Never mind me, fellows. Try and get the boat away".

His extraordinary courage and disregard of personal danger in the protection of the lives of his shipmates will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Hawkins Fudske was from Brooklyn, NY. Photo: Yearbook of the Esso Fleet 1943. Marine Department, Standard Oil Co. (N.J.)


James M. FuertadoThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

James M. Fuertado
Chief Mate on SS City Of Alma 06/02/42

For heroism and unfaltering courage under hazardous conditions.

Struck by a torpedo at night, SS City Of Alma, in which Fuertado was serving, sank immediately with the loss of many lives. He was carried down with the ship but finally struggled free of the suction and reached the surface. Swimming through the wreckage, he assisted several other shipmates, one with a broken arm, to an improvised raft. Finding a half wrecked punt in the vicinity, he maneuvered it, with the assistance of another man, to an overturned lifeboat, some two miles distant. Several men were clinging to the lifeboat and with the assistance of Fuertado and his companion they were finally able to right the boat, bail her out and rig her sail. As a result of this difficult operation it was possible to cruise through the floating wreckage and rescue all the remaining men, eventually landing them safely in port [San Juan, Puerto Rico].

His exceptional courage, skillful seamanship and utter disregard of personal safety are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Fuertado, born in 1890 on Grand Cayman, BWI, lived in Oklawaha FL. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Alberto GalzaThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Alberto Galza
Boatswain on SS Delisle 05/04/42 and 10/19/43

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

When the SS Delisle was torpedoed in the spring of 1942, the Third Mate, who had previously lost a leg, was again seriously injured while standing bridge watch. Galza was at the wheel at the time, and, though severely cut about the head and shoulders by the wreckage of the wheel house, he carried the helpless Third Mate from the bridge over decks listing forty-five degrees, and lowered him to the comparative safety of a lifeboat.

The SS Delisle survived this torpedoing, but on a later voyage, in the fall of 1943, she was again torpedoed while rescuing survivors of another torpedoed ship. The Master of the ship, another one-legged veteran of the sea, was blown from the bridge to the fore deck and lay seriously injured and hopelessly pinned down by a cargo boom which had fallen on his artificial leg. Galza, on this occasion, was aft assisting in the rescue, but immediately ran forward when told of his Captain's plight. Finding that he was not able to move the heavy boom, Galza cut the Captain free from the pinioned leg, carried him to the side, and lowered him to a waiting raft but a few minutes before the ship sank.

His heroic actions on these two occasions, in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine, were instrumental in saving the life of one of his officers, and undoubtedly the sole means of saving the life of another.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Galza, born in the Philippines, lived in Baltimore MD. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry. WSA Press Release


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Andrew W. Gavin
Master of SS Alcoa Pioneer 11/18/44

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

During the Philippine invasion, his ship, SS Alcoa Pioneer, was anchored in San Pedro Bay, and was subjected to unrelenting enemy air attacks. In spite of courageous and skillful use of the ship's battery an enemy suicide plane penetrated the barrage and crashed on the bridge deck killing and wounding numerous members of the Armed Guard and the Merchant Crew. Captain Gavin was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken rib and other painful injuries. Upon regaining his senses, he immediately directed the manning of fire-fighting equipment and succeeded in extinguishing the menacing flames before they could reach the three forward holds which contained gasoline cargo.

Merchant seamen quickly took the places of dead and wounded gunners and kept up continuous defense of the ship. After first aid had been administered to stricken shipmates, Captain Gavin supervised emergency repairs of difficult character and large magnitude with the result that the Alcoa Pioneer returned to the United States under her own power for complete overhaul.

Captain Gavin's courage and utter disregard of personal safety were mainly responsible for saving his ship and vital cargo, as well as many lives and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Gavin lived in New York City, NY


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Edward D. Geddes
Master of SS Heffron 07/05/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

His ship, SS Heffron, was in an early Russia bound convoy [PQ-16] which, for six days and nights, was subjected to continuous submarine and air attacks. Hemmed in by ice packs the convoy was forced to run the gauntlet under the severest weather conditions. The ship was without defense armament except for two .30 caliber machine guns. Enemy planes often came within 100 feet of the ship but were fought off by the fine direction of the light armament. Thrice he out-maneuvered aerial torpedoes and once evaded a torpedo fired by a submarine. In face of all the enemy could do in the air, on the surface, and under the sea, his expert seamanship and the magnificent discipline of his crew brought the ship to her destination.

Captain Geddes' personal courage and fine leadership were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Geddes lived in Tacoma WA.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Lawrence H. Gianella*
Radio Operator on SS Prusa 12/19/41

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

The ship in which he served was in mid-Pacific when struck by an enemy torpedo. The explosion blew through the after decks; the engines and dynamos were completely wrecked; and it was immediately apparent that the ship would remain afloat only a few minutes. Orders were given to prepare to abandon ship, and instructions sent to the Radio Operator to send an S.O.S. The officer who delivered the message found Gianella already engaged in rigging an emergency set. Lifeboats were lowered away, and the Master then sent orders to Gianella to abandon ship. But the Radio Operator had not been able to get his message through. Realizing that upon him rested all hope for the rescue of his shipmates, the pull of duty and tradition was too strong to overcome. Gianella refused to leave his post and chose to face certain death in his stark devotion to duty.

His self-sacrificing courage and fidelity to trust are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


John R. HaffardThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John R. Haffard
Able Seaman on SS Admiral Halstead 02/19/42 to 02/26/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

For eighteen months the ship in which he was serving operated in the Southwest Pacific under especially hazardous conditions, as it was at all times in the danger zone, was unescorted, and only lightly armed. In an attack on Port Darwin, [Australia] and on the nine succeeding days, when most of the crew had left the ship, he with his Captain and four officers and men, manned the two machine guns, and so successfully defended the ship that it was the only one of twelve merchant vessels in the harbor not destroyed.

After the first attack, this small group protestingly left the ship upon orders of the military authorities, but subsequently returned, got underway, and took their ship out into the harbor each morning and returned to the dock each night to discharge cargo, so as not to endanger the dock during daylight. Because of the indomitable determination and courage of these six men, they succeeded in delivering the gasoline so vitally necessary to Army operations.

His loyalty to his ship and his devotion to duty have added another inspirational chapter to the history of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Haffard, born in 1904, served in the U.S. Navy from 1920 to 1940. He lived in Seattle WA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

James F. Harrell*
Master of SS Gulfstate 11/07/42 and 04/03/43

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

Proceeding in convoy through an area of enemy submarine activity, he sighted, at a great distance, two drifting lifeboats heavily loaded with survivors apparently too exhausted to signal. Though fully aware of the danger to his own ship, he obtained permission from the Commodore to leave the protection of the convoy and succeeded in taking aboard 106 survivors of a torpedoed Dutch ship [MS Zaandam] in a rescue operation which required three hours to effect.

On a subsequent voyage, his ship, carrying 78,000 barrels of crude oil, was hit by two torpedoes. Fire immediately enveloped the entire after part of the ship trapping all but the Master and eleven of his crew. Captain Harrell directed the launching of the one remaining life raft, ordered the men with him over the side, and, though he might have safely abandoned ship with honor, chose to give his life in a heroic attempt to rescue the trapped men.

His selfless devotion and his courageous adherence to the code of the sea was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Harrell, 40 years old, lived in Port Arthur TX


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Robert W. Hart*
Master of SS San Jacinto 04/21/42

For heroism and especially meritorious service under unusual hazards.

His ship was carrying 104 passengers; more than 80 of whom were women, and a crew of 79, when attacked and sunk by heavy shell fire from two enemy submarines. His prompt and efficient directions, and the perfect discipline of his crew, were responsible for the saving of all except nine passengers and five of the crew who were presumably killed by shell fire. After all boats were clear, he refused to leave the ship until he had destroyed the ship's confidential papers. Because of his attempt to perform this final duty he went down with his ship.

His extraordinary courage and fidelity to trust will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


Donald F. Haviland merchant marine heroThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Donald F. Haviland*
Chief Engineer on SS Henry Bacon 02/23/45

In February 1945, SS Henry Bacon, an American Liberty Ship, in which Chief Engineer Haviland was serving, departed from Murmansk, North Russia, carrying Norwegian war refugees. A few days later during a heavy gale, the vessel was forced to drop out of Convoy RA-64 to effect repairs to her steering gear. The ship was then attacked by twenty-three German planes. The Henry Bacon shot down several planes and damaged others, but received one hit which caused her to founder. The lifeboats were filled with all of the Norwegians and some of the crew members, but could not accommodate all remaining personnel. When this situation became known to Chief Engineer Haviland, he insisted on climbing back on board ship giving his place in the lifeboat to a younger man. Shortly thereafter, he went down with the ship.

His unselfish action in sacrificing his life to save a shipmate constitutes a degree of heroism in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: "All They Had for Norway," Nautical Brass, March/April 1994.


Kenneth E. HayfordThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Kenneth E. Hayford
Chief Engineer on SS Harper's Ferry 07/20/44

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

SS Harper's Ferry was in an Italian port [Taranto] discharging high octane gasoline cargo over her starboard side through a pontoon pipe line, and simultaneously taking bunkers over her port side through a flexible hose line running from an oil barge to an open tank in the Harper's Ferry forward bunker. The crew of the oil barge failed to maintain lines, and the barge drifted away from the ship causing the oil line to pull out of the bunker opening. Before the barge pumps could be stopped, fuel oil flooded the tanker's deck and ran over the side near the barge. This overflow was ignited by sparks from the galley stack of the barge, and the flames spread rapidly over the deck of the Harper's Ferry.

In spite of the imminence of a devastating explosion of the tanker's gasoline cargo, Hayford, assisted by three members of his engine room crew, strung out three lines of fire hose and succeeded in forcing the flaming oil overboard and extinguishing all fires.

Chief Engineer Hayford's leadership in a situation demanding the highest degree of judgment and courage were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo courtesy of Paul Anderson of Indiana.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Otto Heitmann
Master of SS John Bascom 12/02/43

For distinguished service under unusual hazards and demands.

While his ship, SS John Bascom, was moored in the harbor of Bari, Italy, awaiting discharge orders, an intensive air raid, lasting an hour, sank numerous vessels. Secured alongside an ammunition-laden ship, which had been struck and its deck cargo ablaze, his first thought was to cut the lines and move into the outer harbor. This, however, proved futile as the sea had become a raging inferno. Shortly thereafter the John Bascom was strafed from stem to stern and, ablaze, began settling. Bridge and deck housing were completely wrecked, with one death resulting and serious injury to some hands.

With an injured back and bleeding profusely from head and hand lacerations he refused first aid, immediately proceeding to the medicine chest, assembling linen and ministering to the gravely injured. Stretchers were improvised from wrecked bulkheads, and, with great difficulty, the wounded men were taken ashore in a lifeboat. Two open shelters, already well crowded by other crews, accommodated them, only to be further jeopardized by the explosion of an ammunition ship close by, with flaming seas whipping inshore. Sensing this immediate danger he signaled a small Norwegian coastal steamer which took sixty men aboard. Twenty-five were then transferred to a British minesweeper, and later a U.S. Navy launch picked up the Master and the remaining men. He was then given hospital treatment.

Utter disregard of the painfully inflicted injuries in order to render immediate aid and comfort to his shipmates will be a lasting inspiration to all seamen, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Heitmann, 39 years old, lived in New York, NY


Alexander S. HenryThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Alexander S. Henry
Master of SS Deer Lodge 05/18/42

For distinguished service under unusual stress and hazards.

His vessel had completed delivery of vital war material to one of our Allies then hard pressed by a major enemy offensive, and was anchored in port [Kola Inlet, USSR] awaiting the formation of a homeward bound convoy. A flight of six enemy bombers attacked, dropping many bombs. One, a near miss, lifted the ship's stern bodily out of the water. The explosion blew in several plates and frames, and her stern immediately settled on the bottom. The Chief Engineer rushed below and closed the shaft alley watertight door which prevented the flooding of the engine room and boiler room.

The Master ordered flooding of the No. 1 hold which then put the ship down by the head and raised her stern off the bottom. She was beached stern to by her crew on a nearby mud flat, and wire hawsers made fast to huge boulders ashore. The ship was then hove ashore on top of high water by her own deck machinery. For two months, a period in which the crew were often called to defend themselves, or assist in the defense of the port against extensive enemy air activity, they effected temporary repairs between tides which enabled the ship to shift to drydock where she was again made seaworthy for active service.

His able leadership of a loyal and courageous crew constitutes an epic of resourcefulness and dogged determination which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Henry was born in 1904 in Paisley, Scotland. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 3 years. Henry's closest relatives lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Richard E. Hocken
Master of SS William Moultrie 09/12/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

His ship, SS William Moultrie, in a convoy [PQ-18] which suffered heavy losses, fought through a week of continuous attacks by enemy bombers and submarines to deliver her cargo of war material to a North Russian port. In the course of the long running battle, the ship was directly attacked thirteen times and was credited with downing eight planes, and with scoring direct hits on twelve others. During the first attack on the convoy, the Moultrie distinguished herself by
shooting down three torpedo planes and damaged five. Later, after successfully repelling another attack by planes, four torpedoes were sighted headed for the stern of the Moultrie. The ship's guns fired upon them, exploding one, and the other three were eluded by skillful seamanship.

Captain Hocken, Master of a gallant ship and a gallant crew, exhibited qualities of leadership and high courage in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Hocken lived in New York City, NY.


James C. HuettThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

James C. Huett
Radio Operator on SS William T. Coleman 07/20/43

For distinguished service in enemy action.

During the evening and throughout one night while the SS William T. Coleman was moored in company with several other ships in an African port [Tripoli], a concentrated air attack was made by strong formations of enemy aircraft. As the bombing and strafing commenced, a ship [SS Ocean Voyager] which was moored to the same buoy, and fast aft to Huett's ship, was hit. This, as well as his ship were loaded with ammunition and high octane gasoline. The stricken vessel was ablaze within a matter of seconds, her cargo of ammunition and bombs exploding in all directions. Immediately preparations were under way to slip moorings in order to stand clear of the burning vessel. Huett and a Cadet-Midshipman [Walter G. Sittmann] volunteered to cut the moorings aft. The stern of his vessel was but six feet from the blazing vessel and the extreme heat and exploding bombs made this mission extremely hazardous. Within minutes the volunteers had accomplished their mission enabling their ship to proceed to a safe distance from the burning vessel which soon blew up.

The magnificent courage and complete disregard for his own safety in helping save his ship, her cargo, and the lives of his shipmates constitute a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Huett lived in Boston MA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Karl W. Jaenicke
Master of SS West Hardaway 06/15/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

Two torpedoes were fired at SS West Hardaway, the first striking at No. 1 hatch on the starboard side, and the other a miss streaking across the bow ten yards ahead. Although the submarine did not surface, the gun crew immediately went into action firing five rounds at the wake of her conning tower, and two heavy explosions were observed indicating direct hits. During this firing the ship had been settling rapidly by the head, and Captain Jaenicke ordered her abandoned. After all boats were in the water and standing by, he observed that the ship had stopped settling, and he and his gun crew returned aboard in the hope that the submarine might come to the surface. Shortly thereafter, the wake of another submarine was sighted, and the gun crew again opened fire, but after an hour of pitched battle between the ship and the raider, another torpedo struck at No. 2 hatch and the entire forward deck collapsed inward. The crew once again abandoned ship in a most orderly manner. The Master then equalized his fifty men between the boats and headed for the nearest land which was reached in two days without the loss of a man.

Captain Jaenicke's determination to fight his ship until the end, and his capable leadership of a well trained crew were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Jaenicke lived in Philadelphia PA.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Ralph E. Jamieson
Chief Engineer on SS Saint Mihiel 04/09/45


Ralph E. Jamieson receives DSM medal while William R. Rudolph looks on
Ralph E. Jamieson receives DSM medal while William R. Rudolph looks on

For distinguished service under unusual hazards.

With a capacity cargo of high octane gasoline, the SS Saint Mihiel was rammed, in convoy, at night by another tanker [SS Nashbulk], and immediately became a raging inferno. Although orders had been given to abandon ship, Jamieson remained in the engine room for several hours afterwards and secured all equipment in such skillful manner that it greatly facilitated later operations. He left the vessel only under orders of the Coast Guard escort. At daybreak, while the ship was still on fire, he volunteered, together with fourteen other hands to reboard her. He succeeded in raising steam, and, by his expert handling of the machinery plant, assisted materially in bringing the badly damaged ship to port, where the smouldering fires were finally extinguished.

His devotion to duty and complete disregard of personal safety were mainly responsible for saving the ship and her valuable cargo, and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Jamieson lived in New York NY.


Charles A. JarvisThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Charles A. Jarvis
Master of SS Adoniram Judson 10/24/44 to 10/29/44

For heroism in the line of duty.

His ship, SS Adoniram Judson, was the first United States merchant vessel to dock at Tacloban, Island of Leyte, during the initial invasion of the Philippines, and was subjected to unrelenting enemy air attacks. Her guns provided the principal air cover for the landing area for two days until joined by other ships participating in the campaign. The accurate and continuous gun fire which she maintained repeatedly repelled the vigorous enemy, during which action the unloading of her vital war material, including steel airfield landing mats, was successfully carried out. Captain Jarvis' courage, leadership and utter disregard of personal danger not only contributed greatly to the success of the invasion, but also to the safety of his ship and crew.

His outstanding performance was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

SS Adoniram Judson after-action reports submitted by Captain Jarvis
Jarvis was b
orn in St. Johns, Arizona Territory, Sept. 8, 1906 and moved to Port Angeles, WA in 1915. [Photo courtesy Greg Hayden]


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Elis R. JohansonElis R. Johanson
Master of SS Monterey 11/06/43

For distinguished service in action with the enemy.

In a night attack by enemy bombers, a troopship, [SS Santa Elena] carrying nearly 1,700 men, was torpedoed. In total darkness, and under most adverse weather conditions of wind, rain and heavy swell, Captain Johanson located the sinking transport, held his own ship close aboard, and, by means of his lifeboats, scramble nets, man-ropes and ladders, evacuated her crew and passengers in an outstanding display of seamanship and efficiency. The abandonment of the troopship and the rescue of her survivors were carried out with such dispatch that Captain Johanson's ship was able to clear the scene of action well before daylight, thereby avoiding further jeopardy from enemy aircraft or submarine.

These operations, carried out without loss of life or injury attributable to the rescue, were indicative of a well indoctrinated and highly trained ship, and distinguished Captain Johanson as an outstanding officer and a leader of men.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Johanson's address was in San Francisco CA.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Arthur L. Johnson*
Master of SS Virginia Dare 09/07 to 09/21/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

In September 1942, SS Virginia Dare, loaded with high explosives bound for Murmansk [Convoy PQ-18], fought off enemy submarines, dive bombers, and torpedo planes in a blazing battle lasting for seven days and nights. The ship was repeatedly subjected to numerous direct attacks which were successfully repelled. The accurate fire of the gun crew brought down seven of the attacking planes and inflicted damage on several others. On one occasion a Junkers 88 already in flames suddenly turned to crash dive into her bow, and was exploded by the ship's forward gun at point blank range of sixty yards. Later, while maneuvering through mine fields, the Master skillfully evaded two aerial torpedoes which were racing toward the ship.

Captain Johnson, Master of a gallant ship and a gallant crew exhibited qualities of leadership and high courage in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


Edward E. JohnsonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Edward E. Johnson
Master of SS Admiral Halstead 02/19/42 to 02/26/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

For eighteen months the ship in which he was serving operated in the Southwest Pacific under especially hazardous conditions, as it was at all times in the danger zone, was unescorted, and only lightly armed. In an attack on Port Darwin, [Australia] and on the nine succeeding days, when most of the crew had left the ship, he with his Captain and four officers and men, manned the two machine guns, and so successfully defended the ship that it was the only one of twelve merchant vessels in the harbor not destroyed. After the first attack, this small group protestingly left the ship upon orders of the military authorities, but subsequently returned, got underway, and took their ship out into the harbor each morning and returned to the dock each night to discharge cargo, so as not to endanger the dock during daylight. Because of the indomitable determination and courage of these six men, they succeeded in delivering the gasoline so vitally necessary to Army operations.

His loyalty to his ship and his devotion to duty have added another inspirational chapter to the history of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Johnson resided in Woodland, CA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Edwin E. JohnsonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Edwin E. Johnson
Master of SS Columbian 06/17/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

At dusk an enemy submarine was sighted on the horizon off the starboard bow. Course was immediately changed to put it astern, and various courses were set during the night to enemy's superior surface speed, and at midnight the submarine was sighted on the port bow heading directly for the ship and opening fire with all its deck guns as it came in. In an adept maneuver, the ship was swung bringing the submarine close astern. Then the order was given for hard left rudder to check the swing and the ship's stern chaser gun went into action The first shot was a direct hit just below the submarine's conning tower at point-blank range of not more than 200 yards. Quickly reloaded, the stern gun registered another hit. From then on there was no response from the submarine-- when last seen it was lying at right angles to the ship's course and settling low astern.

Captain Johnson's alert leadership and expert seamanship, so largely instrumental in saving his own ship and in seriously damaging the submarine, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Johnson was born in Marshfield OR in 1888. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Kyle Vaughn Johnson*
Ordinary Seaman on SS Lafayette 09/07/42 to 09/21/42

For distinguished service in enemy action.

While his ship was enroute to a Russian port [Convoy PQ18] with a cargo of war material, he served as No. 1 gunner on a 20 mm Oerlikon and aided materially over a period of eight days in repelling a series of enemy aerial attacks. During this period, he was credited with shooting down three enemy planes and assisting in the destruction of two others. His coolness under attack, and the resulting accuracy of the fire of his gun, not only contributed immeasurably to the safety of his ship, but served as an inspiration to other members of the crew.

His courage and calm efficiency during these attacks were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Paul David Jones*
Oiler on SS Bostonian (Panama flag) 8/14/44

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

A benzol gas leak in the pump-room of the tanker Bostonian was endangering the security of the ship and the safety of her crew. The Captain of the ship, refusing to order any of his seamen to undertake the hazardous task of stopping the leak, descended alone into the pump-room hatch. In his endeavors to plug the leak, his body became firmly wedged between a cargo pump and a valve wheel, and he succumbed to the deadly gases. Though fully aware that they were risking their own lives, Paul Jones and his brother volunteered to attempt his rescue. Turned back once by the searing gases, the brothers again descended, and Paul Jones succeeded in reaching the unconscious Captain. But in his valiant efforts to extricate the heavy body, Paul Jones succumbed to the deadly gases and lost his own life.

Though unsuccessful in his gallant endeavor, Jones unhesitatingly risked, and gave, his life in an attempt to save a shipmate. This constituted a degree of heroism in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


Lew Jordan


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

G. O. Karlsson*
Master of SS Stanvac Calcutta 04/12/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

When about 500 miles off the coast of Brazil, the Tanker, Stanvac Calcutta, was attacked by a heavily armed raider which came up close on her in a heavy squall. Though armed only with a 4" rifle aft and a 3" anti-aircraft gun, the Stanvac Calcutta tried to escape in a running fight. On the fifth round fired, the tanker's after gun knocked out one of the raider's 13 cm. guns, but the next round from the enemy shattered the pointer's scope and sight bar. The crew continued to fight the gun by laying without sights until the ammunition magazine was hit and the ship began to sink. With fourteen dead and fourteen seriously wounded, the crew was forced to abandon ship and were taken prisoners. Until he was killed at his post on the bridge, Captain Karlsson, with masterly seamanship, handled his ship so that his single effective gun could always be used to best advantage.

A gallant Master of a gallant ship, Captain Karlsson's courage and skill against overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


Elias Kershaw


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Sigmond Charles Krolikowski*
Master of SS Wolf Creek 09/45

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

The tanker Wolf Creek, under command of Captain Krolikowski, completed discharging high octane gasoline at Sydney, Australia, in September 1945. In order to operate necessary valves for clearing the gasoline hose, the First Pumpman descended to the lower grating in the pumproom and was immediately overcome by dangerous fumes. With great difficulty he was brought on deck and revived. After obtaining a fresh air breathing apparatus, the First Pumpman again descended to the pumproom and again was overcome by fumes. On this occasion, a Quartermaster, with oxygen breathing apparatus descended to the lower grating and carried the unconscious man to the upper grating, where he, himself, seemed about to collapse. The Master, who was watching, immediately went to assist him with no gas mask, no life line and no thought of his own safety. He and the Quartermaster both collapsed. Finally, after strenuous efforts, all three men were brought on deck and given artificial respiration. The Master, alone, failed to revive.

Captain Krolikowski's instructive effort to aid crew members in peril, resulting in the sacrifice of his own life, constitutes a degree of heroism in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Mike Kuzma
Ordinary Seaman on SS Virginia 05/12/42

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

The tanker Virginia, struck by two enemy torpedoes, instantly exploded and the surrounding waters over a wide area were an inferno of burning gasoline. Only fourteen men survived the terrible death trap. Kuzma, though severely burned in the blast, swam through the flame swept water to the assistance of another badly burned seaman who had become exhausted in his heroic attempt to rescue a third shipmate. With complete disregard for his own safety, and in spite of his own injuries, Kuzma succeeded in towing both men out of the flaming area and in supporting them until they were picked up by a rescue craft.

His selfless and heroic deed, exemplifying the creed of the merchant seaman, was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Kuzma, born 1915, lived in St. Paul MN.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John J. Lapoint
Master of SS Potlatch 06/27/42

For especially meritorious service under unusual stress and hazards.

His ship was struck simultaneously by two torpedoes. Immediately the stern went under water, and the ship sank in three minutes. Only one twenty-six-foot lifeboat and four life-rafts from the rigging were successfully launched. The Master, caught in the suction of the sinking ship, was carried under twice by entangling rigging. Although painfully injured he fought his way to the surface. Taking command of the lifeboat he proceeded to pick up survivors in the water. The four liferafts were secured in line for towing by the lifeboat and a course calculated to fetch land was set. At the end of the second day, strong head winds and rough seas made it imperative to transfer all men to the lifeboat and cast the dragging rafts adrift.

The small boat, now crowded with all forty-nine survivors, sailed and drifted for twenty-six days before a landfall was made at night. Although carefully rationed, all food was exhausted by the fifteenth day. From then on the men subsisted almost entirely on berries garnered from passing seaweed and rainwater caught during the frequent squalls. A landing was made on what proved to be an uninhabited island, without food, and with only a brackish, sulphurous spring from which a new supply of water was taken. After a second night's rest the disheartened survivors again put to sea. On the morning of the thirty-third day a second landing was made this time on an inhabited island where food and water were obtained from the natives, It was from this island that the final rescue was effected. Throughout the many days in the crowded lifeboat, Captain Lapoint's control of the thirst and hunger-maddened men was firm but kind and undoubtedly was the means of saving many lives.

His good example and quiet mastery of a heavy and difficult responsibility will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Lapoint was from Baltimore, MD.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Frederick A. Larsen, Jr.
Junior Third Mate on SS Santa Elisa 08/11 to 08/15/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

His ship was a freighter carrying drums of high-octane gasoline, one of two American ships, in a small British convoy to Malta. Orders were to "get through at all costs". Heavily escorted, the convoy moved into the Mediterranean, and before noon of that day the enemy's attack began. From then on the entire convoy was under constant attack from Axis planes and submarines. Assigned the command of an antiaircraft gun mounted on the bridge, Larsen contributed to the successful defense of his ship for three days. At 4:00 A.M. on the morning of the fourth day, torpedo boats succeeded in breaking through and two attacked from opposite sides. Sneaking in close under cover of the darkness one opened point-blank fire with four .50 caliber machine guns, sweeping the bridge. The other fired a torpedo into the opposite side of the freighter. The explosion of the torpedo ignited the gasoline cargo and the American ship was engulfed in flames. Reluctantly orders were given to abandon her.

Two hours later, the survivors were picked up by a British destroyer, which then proceeded to take in tow a tanker [SS Ohio] that had been bombed and could not maneuver. After five hours constant dive-bombing, the tanker was hit again--her crew abandoned her--and the destroyer was forced to cut her loose. But the cargo she carried was most important to the defense of Malta, and it had to get through. The rescue destroyer and another destroyer steamed in--lashed themselves on either side of the stricken tanker--and dragged her along in a determined attempt to get her to port. The tanker's decks and superstructure had been almost completely wrecked by the incessant bombardment.

But Larsen's anxiety to get into the fight caused him to take inventory of her armament. He found an anti-aircraft gun mounted abaft the stack which needed only minor repairs to put it into action. The young cadet of his own ship, a British gunner's mate, and three of his men volunteered help him. Though the ships were then constantly under attack, they boarded her, repaired the gun and manned it, with Larsen taking the trainer's position and the gunner's mate and the cadet alternating as pointers.

The shackled ships, inching along and making a perfect target, were assailed by concentrated enemy air-power. All that day wave after wave of German and Italian bombers dived at them and were beaten off by a heavy barrage. Bombs straddled them, scoring near misses, but no direct hits were made until noon the next day, when the tanker finally received a bomb down her stack which blew out the bottom of her engine room. Though she continued to settle until her decks were awash, they fought her through until dusk that day brought them under the protection of the hard fighting air force out of Malta.

The magnificent courage of this young third officer constitutes a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Larsen, 28 years old, was from Newark, NJ


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to Arthur Lauman

Arthur Lauman
Fireman on MS Esso Bolivar
(Panama) 03/07/42

For extraordinary heroism and especially meritorious service under unusual hazards.

While his ship was under heavy shell fire and torpedo attack by an enemy submarine which caused fires above and below deck, he remained at his port in the fireroom despite the shattering of the room and its equipment by explosions. As one shell crashed through the smokestack casing, breaking off a ten-foot section of six-inch copper pipe and other smaller piping, pieces of steel hurtled into the lower fireroom. As another shell came through the fireroom casing and tore into the uptake, the room was sprayed with pieces of metal. When ordered at last by the Chief Engineer to report to his boat station, he was found calmly clearing the floor of debris in order to continue operations. With all exits afire, it was necessary for him to climb through the engine room skylights to get out on deck. Later, while in the water waiting to be picked up by a lifeboat, he helped another seaman to fight off sharks attacking a wounded member of the gun crew.

His extraordinary courage and fidelity to trust will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Lauman was from New York, NY. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Joseph E. Layman*
Second Mate on SS Stephen Hopkins
09/27/42

For distinguished service in enemy action.

Two enemy surface raiders suddenly appeared out of the morning mist to attack the small merchantman upon which he was serving. Heavy guns of one raider pounded his ship, and machine guns from the other, sprayed her decks until she was a complete wreck and afire fore and aft. His ship exchanged shot for shot with the enemy raiders until the crew of one raider was forced to abandon its sinking ship, and the other was forced to withdraw. Layman, who was in charge of the two 37 mm guns forward, put shell after shell into the larger raider and courageously maintained the fire until all his shell handlers were killed and the gun platform wrecked. With her boilers blown up, engines destroyed, masts shot away, and ablaze from stem to stern, orders were finally given to abandon ship. The only serviceable lifeboat being overcrowded, Layman, unselfishly and heroically, remained on board and went down with his battered ship.

His fearless determination to fight his ship to the end, and his self-sacrifice constitute a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Walter Joseph Lee
Second Mate on SS Independence Hall 03/07/42

For especially meritorious service under unusual demands and hazards.

The ship in which he was serving encountered heavy weather in dangerous waters near Sable Island, Nova Scotia. Wind and sea increased to gale force and after enduring severe battering for a prolonged period, the ship broke in two. The forward half of the vessel in which were all officers senior to Lee, drifted away and grounded nearby with the loss of all on board. Lee took charge of the after half of the ship which he skillfully maneuvered with the engines to lessen the strain and keep the ship stern to the sea as long as engine and fire-rooms were tenable. A jury antenna was rigged, S.O.S. sent out, and rescue ships advised of the ship's condition. Lee took every conceivable step to keep the wrecked half of the ship afloat, and to safeguard personnel until eventually taken off by British naval vessels in a most gallant rescue operation. Throughout this long period, Lee was faced with responsibilities far greater than he had previously experienced. He met each crisis with cool and calm efficiency and contributed in large measure to the successful rescue of the thirty-seven survivors.

His extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Lee, 45 years old, was from Oswego, NY


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to Loy Lemons

Loy Lemons
Ordinary Seaman on SS Dixiano

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

His ship, SS Dixiano, was undergoing repairs to a hole in the way of her No. 1 starboard tank. Two repairmen, welding a doubler plate on the inside of the hole, were overcome by gases, and the ship's Second Mate, who had descended to their rescue, was also overcome in the attempt. With three men already unconscious from the deadly fumes, Lemons had himself lowered at the end of a line to their rescue. Almost instantly he too collapsed, and was hauled to the deck. Regaining consciousness, he again re-entered the tank, and succeeded in securing a line to one of the men before he collapsed for the second time. Hauled to the deck, he again regained consciousness, and again was lowered away into the tank. On this attempt he succeeded in securing lines to the other two men before he, for the third time, lost consciousness in his determinedly heroic endeavors.

Although the three stricken men succumbed to the deadly gases, the temper of Loy Lemons' courage in thrice facing death in his rescue attempts was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Bjarne A. Lia*
Master of SS Bostonian
08/14/44

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

A benzol gas leak in the pump-room of the tanker Bostonian was endangering the security of the ship and the safety of her crew. Captain Lia, aware that no protective equipment would avail against the searing and poisonous heavy vapors, refused to permit any of his crew to undertake the hazardous task of stopping the leak, and descended alone into the pump-room hatch. In his endeavors to plug the leak, his body became wedged in the narrow space between a cargo pump and a valve wheel, and though valiant attempts were made to rescue him, he succumbed to the deadly gases.

In accepting a risk he would not permit any of his crew to take, Captain Lia assured the security of his ship at the sacrifice of his own life. This constituted a degree of heroism in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Lia was born in 1900.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John Lund
Master of SS Pan Maryland
01/20/44

For distinguished service under unusual hazards.

John Lund and Admiral LandDuring a midwinter storm, with extreme heavy seas and northerly winds Force 8, a Norwegian tanker broke in half. Three ships responded; two of foreign flags, and the American ship commanded by Captain Lund. Repeated attempts by all three ships to get lines aboard the wreck proved unsuccessful, and the seas and winds made launching of lifeboats from the rescue ships impossible. While these operations were going on, the forward half sank. With the coming of darkness that day, the two foreign flag ships steamed on, but the American ship stood by cruising in large circles around the stern half of the wreck in the hope that the sea and wind might moderate sufficiently to permit rescue operations. About ten-thirty that night the wind eased off, and Captain Lund closed in on the wreck and signaled her to launch a boat in the lee which he would provide. After several attempts fourteen men were taken off, and the remaining thirteen men rescued about an hour later.

Captain Lund's heroic rescue of twenty-seven doomed seamen, and the exemplary seamanship displayed in effecting this rescue, are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: American Seamen: About Men of the Merchant Marine, Winter 1944.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Richard G. Matthiesen*
Ordinary Seaman on SS Marcus Daly
12/10/44

For heroism beyond the call of duty

During the initial invasion of the Philippine Islands at Tacloban, Leyte, the SS Marcus Daly, in which Matthiesen was serving, carried troops and vital war material and, with two other vessels, afforded the principal defenses of the port for several days. During six days and nights of incessant fighting, while troops were being disembarked and her cargo safely discharged, the vessel was at times the only fire power defending the vital Leyte docks. Matthiesen volunteered and served as a member of the forward gun crew which distinguished itself during countless attacks by repulsing the enemy and bringing down many planes.

Two months later, on a subsequent arrival in the Philippines, this same vessel was again attacked by enemy bombers. Again Matthiesen served as a volunteer member of the gun crew during the engagement in which his ship shot down several Japanese aircraft. One of these bombers, after being hit, crashed and exploded under the forward gun platform, where Matthiesen was serving. Despite injuries and severe burns he escaped from the platform, but realizing that two members of the Navy gun crew remained behind, he returned through the intense heat and rescued them from the flames. The following morning Matthiesen died from the resulting burns and other injuries. [Buried Manila American Cemetery Location L-10-36]

His indomitable courage and unselfish impulse to go to the aid of shipmates in peril were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


John A. MattsonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John A. Mattson
Master of SS Coast Farmer
07/20/42

For distinguished service under the unusual stress and hazards.

Arriving in Australia shortly after the Japanese attacks on Manila, he and his crew volunteered to carry vital war material to the beleaguered forces on Bataan. Loaded with high explosives and armed only with two light machine guns, they set out into a typhoon upon a voyage, which none who saw them sail, thought neither ship nor crew would survive. At a time when huge Japanese convoys were coming south through Molucca Straits, he pushed his ship northward; by day, through channels considered too dangerous for navigation; by night, under forced draft along the edges of open waters often within sight of enemy craft.

On two nights enemy ships were passed within hailing distance. On another night floating mines were evaded by sharp lookout and masterful maneuvering. Making its secret port of call, the ship was discharged by night, and set out upon its return voyage with a valuable cargo of tin. But this was not the end of this gallant ship's service to her country at a time of great need. Two more voyages were made to advanced bases where the ship was subjected to savage bombing attacks. Riddled by gunfire, dented and holed by shrapnel beyond temporary repair, it finally became imperative to send her to a drydock in a South Australian port. Within a day and a half of her destination, she was torpedoed and sunk.

With full knowledge of the hazards involved, he and his crew performed special missions of outstanding importance to our fighting forces. His able leadership of a valiant crew, and his masterful exhibition of seamanship will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: Oakland, CA Tribune, May 7, 1943.


Morgan A. MaxeyThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Morgan A. Maxey
Master of SS Cedar Mills
12/01/43

For distinguished service beyond the line of duty.

Escorted by a French cruiser, [Le Triumphant] his tanker and the cruiser were caught in a violent cyclone, and became widely separated. The cruiser, running out of fuel and unable to maneuver, was in a sinking condition with a forty-five degree list when the tanker picked up her distress call. Against mountainous seas and a Force 12 wind, she fought through to the other ship's assistance. Too rough to launch lifeboats, preparations were first made to take off the cruiser's 250 men by life line. After distributing oil on the weather side of the stricken ship to still the seas breaking over her decks, the wind providentially broke to Force 8 and Captain Maxey decided to attempt the rescue with lifeboats. Two boats were launched, but when they approached the cruiser, her heavy roll in the high seas prevented them from closing in, and her men were forced to jump into the seas from whence they were hauled into the boats. In two days about half of the men had been rescued, when the seas moderated to a degree which held hope that the cruiser might also be saved. A tow line was taken aboard and the tanker proceeded to tow the man-o-war until, five days later, rendezvous was made with a British man-o-war which relieved the tanker of her tow.

Captain Maxey's fine leadership; his indomitable will to win over all obstacles; and his outstanding exhibition of seamanship are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Kenneth W. Maynard
Radio Operator on SS China Arrow
02/05/42

For heroism and distinguished service under unusual hazards.

The tanker upon which he was serving was carrying fuel to our Eastern seaboard. Without warning, two torpedoes in quick succession exploded in the main tanks. The force of the explosion blew the cargo expansion trunks through the main deck hatches and large quantities of the inflammable cargo were thrown high into the air. The oil rained back upon the ship, became ignited, and the entire open space blown through the after deck became a blazing inferno. Orders to abandon ship were given when it became apparent that the submarine was preparing to shell the stricken ship, but the Master and Radio Operator remained aboard to rig a jury antenna and set up an emergency short wave transmitter to replace the standard equipment, which had been wrecked by the explosions.

Heedless of personal risk from flame and shell fire, the two men worked furiously for three-quarters of an hour and finally, by the grace of ingenuity and spare parts, the emergency radio rig was completed and a continuous call distress signal was sent out. As the ship's radio receivers had also been wrecked by the explosions, the call was sent "blind", however, shore stations fixed the ship's position by triangulation and rescue of the entire crew was effected 56 hours after the attack.

Radio Operator Maynard's self-sacrificing courage and high devotion to duty, contributory to the speedy rescue of his shipmates constitute qualities of service which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Maynard, 22 years old, started with the Civilian Conservation Corps


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Van Rutherford McCarthy
Chief Mate on SS Jeremiah Wadsworth
11/27/42

For distinguished service under unusually hazardous conditions.

In abandoning ship after it had been torpedoed in the Indian Ocean, he was in charge of one of the lifeboats and for six days and nights, with only six hours sleep, he remained at the helm and skillfully handled the lifeboat. At all times he was extremely solicitous of his men's strength, comfort and mental attitude, and was constantly encouraging them. By expert seamanship during the entire period in the lifeboat, and especially during a gale which lashed the sea for sixty-three hours, he managed to keep his boat afloat and thus saved its occupants.

His concern over the physical and mental attitude of the crew, his leadership, and superb seamanship were highly commendable and in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Bertram E. McDowell*
Wiper on SS Virginia
05/12/42

For heroism beyond the call of duty.

When the first torpedo hit his ship, the SS Virginia, the platform in the engine room, on which McDowell and the Second Assistant Engineer were standing, buckled and the officer was trapped. Refusing to leave him, McDowell courageously struggled until he had freed his shipmate and dragged him clear. Upon reaching the main deck, he encountered another shipmate who had been injured - gave him his own life jacket - and then, with utter disregard of his own safety, went below for extra clothing for this man. It was while on this mission that the second and third torpedoes hit the ship in quick succession and spread burning gasoline over the ship and on the surrounding water. In assisting this man over the side, McDowell received serious burns which subsequently proved fatal. Even after jumping into the flame-swept water, and despite his injuries, he assisted in holding up another of his injured shipmates.

His heroic actions in risking, and subsequently giving, his own life while assisting three shipmates were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Daniel J. McKenzie
Master of SS Independence Hall
10/17/39

For especially meritorious service under unusual stress and hazards.

The ship of which Captain McKenzie was master picked up the S.O.S. of a torpedoed British ship, while en route from Bordeaux to the United States, shortly after outbreak of war in Europe. Proceeding to the stricken vessel, he received an S.O.S. from a second torpedoed ship, almost on his course. Coming first to the scene of the second torpedoing, Captain McKenzie saw the doomed vessel buckle amidships and sink. Ordering a boat lowered into a rough and choppy sea, the Captain directed the rescue of a number of persons clinging to wreckage and many more who were adrift in overcrowded lifeboats. Seventy-three persons were taken on board.

On arrival at the scene of the first torpedoing after nightfall, with life-saving material gathered on the hatches, cargo nets and ladders in readiness, and cluster lights rigged, Captain McKenzie and his crew within two hours took two hundred and twenty-seven survivors on board. They included many sick and wounded officers and men of the British Army, with their wives and children, and a number of terrified and panic stricken East Indian sailors.

His able leadership of a gallant crew in effecting the rescue and safe landing of 300 survivors by a small cargo ship will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Daniel J. McKenzie was from Washington, DC. Award presented February 11, 1943. The two British ships were the City of Mandalay and the Yorkshire.


 

Thomas J. McTaggartThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Thomas J. McTaggart
Chief Engineer on MS Esso Bolivar
(Panama) 03/07/42

For heroism and especially meritorious service under unusual hazards.

His ship, trailed in darkness by a submarine, was raked by shellfire for more than two hours, then struck by a torpedo. Remaining below in the burning ship with the Second Engineer after the abandon ships order had been given, he made sure the engines were left in condition for future operation in case salvage should prove possible. Climbing into the last lifeboat with the Second Engineer, he took charge when the chief Mate was mortally wounded by shellfire. He maneuvered the lifeboat to minimize the effect of enemy fire until the firing ceased, and when daylight came directed the rescue of several men from the water. After landing the boat he returned to the ships with help and directed salvage operations which made it possible to sail her to a nearby port for temporary repairs as the result of which this vessel is still serving the cause of the United Nations in the war.

His extraordinary courage and disregard of danger to life or limb in the protection of his vessel constitute a fidelity to trust which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

McTaggart, born in 1913, was from Medford, MA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry. McTaggart, a retired Port Engineer for Exxon Corporation, died on July 23, 2006 in Houston TX. He was buried in Plymouth, MA. (Liberty Log, Summer 2006)


It is my privilege to present the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal authorized by the Secretary of Transportation, posthumously to

Carl M. Medved
Cadet-Midshipman (Engine) on SS Daniel Huger
05/19/43

For heroism beyond the call of duty.

His ship was subjected to a two-hour high level bombing attack by seventeen enemy planes. As a result of a near miss, bomb fragments pierced the hull and the cargo of high octane gasoline exploded. Despite heroic efforts to combat the flames two to three hundred feet high, the fire was soon out of control and the ship was abandoned. Upon arrival of the shore fire brigade, it was decided to try to save the ship with foamite. It was necessary to have a few men return to the ship, enter the adjacent hold, and play a hose on the heated bulkhead to prevent the raging fire from spreading. Cadet-Midshipman Medved volunteered to risk his life in an attempt to save part of the cargo, which was so necessary to the continuance of war operations. That the fire was eventually brought under control and most of the cargo saved was due in no small measure to his outstanding bravery.

His willingness to risk his life to save his ship and his heroic conduct during the fire are in keeping with the finest traditions of the sea.

Captain William G. Schubert, Maritime Administrator

Authorized August 29, 2003


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Albert Milbourne
Chief Mate on SS Admiral Halstead
02/19/42 to 02/26/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

For eighteen months the ship in which he was serving operated in the Southwest Pacific under especially hazardous conditions, as it was at all times in the danger zone, was unescorted, and only lightly armed. In an attack on Port Darwin, [Australia] and on the nine succeeding days, when most of the crew had left the ship, he with his Captain and four officers and men, manned the two machine guns, and so successfully defended the ship that it was the only one of twelve merchant vessels in the harbor not destroyed.

After the first attack, this small group protestingly left the ship upon orders of the military authorities, but subsequently returned, got underway, and took their ship out into the harbor each morning and returned to the dock each night to discharge cargo, so as not to endanger the dock during daylight. Because of the indomitable determination and courage of these six men, they succeeded in delivering the gasoline so vitally necessary to Army operations.

His loyalty to his ship and his devotion to duty have added another inspirational chapter to the history of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Milbourne resided in San Francisco, CA


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Frederick James Mills
Chief Engineer on SS Examelia/MS Zaandam
10/09/42 and 11/02/42

For meritorious service under unusual hazards. Survivor of the sinking of his own ship, he was homeward-bound on an Allied ship when it was struck by two torpedoes. The explosions wrecked all but one lifeboat which succeeded in taking off 70 survivors. Nearly 200 others were either tbrown into the sea by the blasts, or were forced to jump from the rapidly sinking ship. When the ship went under, one of the damaged lifeboats floated free. It was swamped to the gunwales; peppered with many small holes; the rudder and part of the stern were gone; and a large hole, twenty by forty inches, was blown through its side.

But it meant hope, and some of the desperate men had already climbed into it even though there was momentary danger it would sink under them. Mills sensed the situation from a distance, and swam over. Persuading the men to leave the boat, he took sheets of lead from its emergency repair kit and shaped a patch over the large hole. With two men holding the lead patch against the outboard side, he and two others climbed back into the boat. These two held onto his legs while he went head down over the side to nail the patch to the planking. Over this he nailed a piece of salvaged canvas. Each time the men lowered him under, he could drive only one nail, then the two would pull him up for a gasp of air.

Many times he did this until, little by little, the hole was closed and the planking caulked he then took strips from the bottom gratings and repaired the shattered gunwale. The end of the canvas was stretched over the gunwale and made fast. With the largest leak thus stoppered, the rest of the men climbed back aboard and started bailing. Throughout that night Mills plugged the many small leaks as the boat slowly rose in the water. Daybreak brought to him the grim and heartbreaking task of picking from the many survivors still clinging to wreckage the few additional men his weakened lifeboat could carry. When no other aid seemed possible for those they were forced to leave behind, the lifeboat, now with 60 aboard, set out for land. Constantly bailing, and with only one pair of oars to keep headway, the survivors made a safe landing eight days later.

His indomitable courage and practical leadership, so largely contributory to the ultimate rescue of his shipmates, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Richard Moczkowski*
Chief Mate on SS Stephen Hopkins
09/27/42

For extraordinary heroism beyond the call of duty.

Two enemy surface raiders suddenly appeared out of the mist to attack the small merchantman in which he was serving. Heavy guns of one raider pounded his ship, and machine gun fire from the other sprayed her decks until she was a complete wreck and afire fore and aft. The merchantman exchanged shot for shot with the enemy raiders until the crew of one raider was forced to abandon their sinking ship, and the other was forced to withdraw. The mate, shot in the chest and in the left forearm early in the action, continued at his exposed post abaft the wheelhouse rallying his men and directing orders to the bridge to enable his ship to keep her guns bearing on the enemy ships.

Weakened by rapid loss of blood from a severed artery, he collapsed to the deck, but refused to stay down, and ordered a seaman to assist him to his feet and prop him in a doorway that he might better discharge his duties. With her boilers blown up, engines destroyed, masts shot away, and ablaze from stem to stern, orders were finally given to abandon the gallant merchantman. Moczkowski was carried to the boat deck, and propped against the housing while the only usable lifeboat was lowered away. His shipmates carried the mortally wounded man to the side, but seeing the crowded boat already released and clear of the ship, the mate commanded his men to leave him rather than further jeopardize their own safety.

His fearless determination to fight his ship, and his perseverance in engaging the enemy to the utmost until his ship was rendered helpless and sinking, constitute a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Soren Mortensen
Master of SS Bellingham
07/08/42

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

His ship, SS Bellingham, was in an early Russia bound convoy which, for six days and nights, was subjected to continuous submarine and air attacks [PQ-14]. Hemmed in by ice packs, the convoy was forced to run the gauntlet under the severest weather conditions. Only six ships survived the devastating action. Hit by more than 50 aerial cannon shots and holed below the water line by a torpedo, the Bellingham partly paid off the score by shooting down two of the attacking planes and assisting in the destruction of another. Under emergency orders which placed each of the surviving ships on its own, this sturdy ship, manned by stout-hearted men, plowed ahead through dense fog, heavy seas, and floating ice fully as hazardous as enemy action, to arrive at her destination two weeks ahead of the other survivors.

Captain Mortensen's fine leadership, expert seamanship and personal courage constitute qualities of service in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Mortensen lived in Mobile, AL


Maximo MurphyThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Maximo Murphy
Able Seaman on SS Barbara
03/07/42

For especially meritorious service under unusual stress and hazards.

At the time of the sinking of his ship, Murphy took charge of a raft heavily overloaded with 21 crew and passenger survivors. After three days and nights of rowing in tortuous navigation without rest, he managed, by excellent moral example and exceptional skill, to land the raft on the uninhabited north shore of a tropical island. Knowing that there was a native village on the other side of this island, he supplied himself with a pint of water and a few concentrated food tablets and, again without availing himself of rest, set out on foot for help. After almost 18 hours of continuous struggle through jungle growth, he reached the village and prevailed upon six natives to row him to a mainland. There he arranged for a rescue ship. In accordance with the highest traditions of American seamanship, Murphy refused to quit a trust not fully accomplished, and insisted upon returning with the rescue party as pilot and guide.

His voluntary acceptance of a heavy responsibility and his fidelity to that trust will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Maximo Murphy joined the Army and at the time of the award was stationed at Camp Edwards, MA. He was a resident of Brooklyn, NY. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Stanley Lee Neal
Messman on SS Tennessee

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

The tanker upon which he served was effecting the rescue of 123 survivors of a Brazilian passenger ship which had been torpedoed by an enemy submarine. At imminent risk of his own life, Neal twice went overboard into waters swarming with sharks to rescue survivors from floating wreckage. On one occasion, he succeeded in bringing two wounded and completely helpless men to and aboard his ship. Later, he again went overside to wreckage upon which an elderly woman had been lashed; freed her; and brought her to safety. On each occasion, ship's officers were forced to lay down a continual pistol fire against the sharks to insure a small measure of safety to Neal in his heroic efforts.

His high courage and complete disregard of his own safety in effecting these rescues are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Neal, 24, lived in Glassport, PA.


William Needham
Able Seaman, SS Mormaclark

The ship was in New Guinea waters when a U.S. Navy plane was seen crashing into the sea. Course was changed and the vessel headed to the rescue. As the wreck was approached, two badly injured survivors were found clinging to a mattress. A third injured man, about 150 yards away, was without a life jacket or other means of support and was drowning. The ship could not lose way in time to launch a lifeboat. Needham, disregarding the danger from sharks, attracted by blood of the wounded men, dove into the sea, swam to the drowning man and towed him to the ship.

[Text of citation not available.]


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Sten Nordh
Chief Mate on SS El Coston

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

On a stormy night his ship, the SS El Coston, collided with the SS Murfreesboro in a blacked out convoy, both ships having lost their positions due to the unusually rough seas [Convoy CU-15]. At the instant of collision, fires broke out on the SS El Coston, the flames engulfing her whole 'midships section threatening imminent danger of an explosion of her munitions cargo. This danger was further enhanced by the fact that the SS Murfreesboro, carrying a full cargo of 80 octane gasoline which immediately caught fire, still lay nearly alongside.

The collision tore a large hole in the bow of the El Coston and caused a break in the forward bulkhead of a hold where boxed fuses were stowed. Sixty lives were lost from the crews of the two ships, including the Master of the SS El Coston, and a greater number of men were badly burned. Though there was little hope his ship would stay afloat, Nordh tried to bring her to a safe port, but, in spite of all efforts, she went down two days thereafter. Under his leadership fires aboard ship were extinguished and damaged lifesaving equipment repaired, making it possible to finally abandon the ship without further loss of life.

His high courage and exemplary seamanship were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Nordh, who was born in Sweden in 1917, lived in New York, NY.


Edwin Joseph O'HaraThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Edwin Joseph O'Hara*
Engine Cadet-Midshipman on SS Stephen Hopkins
09/27/42

For extraordinary heroism under unusual hazards.

Two enemy surface raiders suddenly appeared out of the morning mist to attack the small merchantman upon which he was serving. Heavy guns of one raider pounded his ship, and machine guns from the other, sprayed her decks for one-half hour at close quarters. The heroic gun crew of O'Hara's ship exchanged shot for shot with the enemy, placing thirty-five shells into the waterline of one of the raiders until its crew was forced to abandon their sinking ship. The gun commander was mortally wounded early in the action, and all of the gun crew were killed or wounded when an enemy shell exploded the magazine of their gun.

At the explosion, O'Hara ran aft and single-handedly served and fired the damaged gun with five live shells remaining in the ready box, scoring direct hits near the waterline of the second raider. O'Hara was mortally wounded in this action. With boilers blown up, engines destroyed, masts shot away, and ablaze from stem to stern, the gallant merchantman finally went under carrying O'Hara and several of his fighting shipmates with her.

The magnificent courage of this young cadet constitutes a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

[Photo: Cadet O'Hara at a gun while visiting the Presidio in San Francisco, We'll Deliver: Early History of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 1938-1956] O'Hara, 19 years old, was from Lindsay, CA. The award was presented to his family on March 15, 1943.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Samuel Olsen
Master of SS Samuel Jordan Kirkwood
05/06/43

For meritorious service in the line of duty.

At midnight, the lookout reported a periscope and the wake of a torpedo on the port side. The Master immediately ordered hard left -- evaded the torpedo -- and then attempted to ram the submarine. The ship barely missed the submarine which fired a second torpedo from a stern tube. This hit the ship, wrecking the propeller and rudder, and dismounting the after gun. Olsen ordered boats lowered and all hands away to stand by while he and the gun crew remained aboard for over an hour in the hope that the submarine might surface and an attack might be made.

During that time, he made a thorough search for any of the crew who might have been injured and left behind. One seriously wounded gun crew member was brought forward out of the wreckage, and Olsen prepared the end of a lifeboat fall and lowered him carefully to a stand-by raft. By that time the ship was sinking rapidly and the gun crew were finally forced to abandon her. With all hands accounted for in the lifeboats, Olsen set a course for a small island of not more than thirty-four square miles, lying about 700 miles away in mid-South Atlantic, where, after ten days sailing, a safe landing was made [Ascension Island].

His courage, leadership, and exemplary seamanship, so largely contributory to the rescue of his crew, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Olsen lived in Milford NJ.


Patrick Carl OlsonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Patrick Carl Olson
Chief Mate on SS President Coolidge
10/26/42

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

SS President Coolidge was landing army personnel when she hit two mines in quick succession. Listing heavily and sinking rapidly, she was run aground on a reef to gain time to debark the troops. Olson was making a final search for stragglers or injured when the ship rolled over port side. Hauling himself up the slanting deck he reached the starboard side which was now nearly horizontal and only a few feet out of water, when he heard cries for help coming from deep within the hull. By this time the ship, pounded by the surf, was slowly sliding, stern first, off into deep water, but Olson, completely disregarding his own safety, crawled to an open side port from whence the cries came.

An army officer had been trapped by the rising water in the ship's hull, and the critical angle of the smooth deck made unaided escape impossible. Olson made several attempts to lower a rope ladder only to have it blown away from the outstretched hands of the drowning man by the blast of escaping air forced out of the ship by the rapidly rising water. Quantities of broken glass and other debris, blown through the vent with great velocity, cut into Olson's face and arms, but he persisted in his heroic rescue attempt until the ship suddenly slipped to the bottom sucking Olson down with her. When the ship struck bottom and the vacuum of her plunge was broken, a violent discharge of imprisoned air shot Olson to the surface where he was soon picked up by a rescue boat.

Though unsuccessful in his heroic attempt, his magnificent courage, which sustained him literally into the depths of death, was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Olson lived in San Francisco, CA and attended U.S. Maritime Service Training School, Alameda, CA. [Photo: Neptune, newsletter of U.S. Maritime Service Training School, Alameda, CA, January 1, 1943]


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Alvin W. Opheim
Master of SS Marcus Daly
12/10/44

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

Loaded with troops and vital war material for the initial Philippine Islands invasion at Tacloban, Leyte, SS Marcus Daly, under the command of Captain Opheim, acted as one of the principal defenders of the port for several days. Through her accurate gunfire enemy attacks were repeatedly repulsed and many planes brought down. During six days and nights of incessant fighting her troops were landed and cargo successfully discharged.

On a subsequent arrival in the Philippines, two months later, his ship was again attacked by enemy bombers, one of which, although damaged by gunfire, crashed and exploded on the forward deck, with resulting fires, wreckage, and over two hundred dead and injured troops and crew members. In this major emergency, Captain Opheim skillfully maneuvered his vessel and directed his well-trained crew in rendering first aid, extinguishing fires and clearing the wreckage.

His outstanding courage, leadership and utter disregard of personal danger were mainly responsible for saving many lives and the vitally needed ship, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


Spencer S. Pardoe
Chief Mate, SS Uruguay
02/12/43

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

At midnight, in a heavy storm, SS Uruguay with 4,700 troops aboard, was rammed by a tanker in the same convoy. The bow of the tanker penetrated thirty-eight feet into the troopship creating a gaping hole seventy feet wide and from keel to A deck. Thirteen soldiers were killed in the crash; and more than fifty injured soldiers were trapped in the wreckage. With the ship listing 20 degrees on her port beam, Commander Pardoe and Captain Spaulding, completely disregarding their own safety, descended into the damaged area, and, with the exercise of high courage and resourcefulness, succeeded in extricating and rescuing the injured and trapped men.

This action, carried out only with the aid of flashlights, involved constant and grave danger of being washed overboard through the gaping hole in the ship's side, injury from the jagged edges of the torn plates of bulkheads and decks, and' electrocution from exposed live wires. After all the injured were removed from the wreckage, a temporary bulkhead was constructed to cover the hole in the ship's side.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Pardoe lived in Brighton, MA


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John L. Paton
First Engineer on SS President Coolidge
10/26/42

For heroism above and beyond the line of duty.

When his ship hit two mines, it immediately listed heavily. All lights below decks were blown out, and the wrecked engine room began to fill. A fireman, crippled by the explosion and severely burned, was trapped in the fireroom. The only possible means for his rescue was a fireroom ventilator to the boat deck, but its smooth, slippery walls made it impossible for him, in his crippled condition, to effect his own escape. With the ship then sinking rapidly, Paton and the Chief Engineer entered the ventilator outlet on the boat deck, and lowered themselves into the darkness to the fireroom deckplates. Disregarding the increasing danger of their own position, the rescuers slowly worked their arduous way up the slippery ventilator carrying the injured man with them.

Engineer Paton's extraordinary courage in rescuing a shipmate under extremely dangerous conditions will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Paton lived in San Francisco, CA


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Royall E. Pinnell
Purser on SS Antelope Hills
05/10/45

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

While his ship, SS Antelope Hills, was anchored in the Gulf of Leyte, Purser Pinnell was ordered ashore on ship's business, which necessitated a thirteen mile run to the mainland in the ship's motor lifeboat. On the return trip heavy weather was encountered, with the result that the Chief Mate, who was at the tiller was washed overboard. Seeing that the boat was out of control and that the Mate could not catch life-lines thrown to him, Pinnell, whose right leg had recently been broken and was still in a cast, unhesitatingly dove into the shark-infested rough sea and reached the Mate just as he was going under. As the lifeboat had drifted out of reach he proceeded to swim, supporting his shipmate, to a Navy ship at anchor where both men were taken on board.3 While immediate medical attention failed to save the Mate's life, it nevertheless did not lessen Pinnell's heroic deed.

His courage under a serious physical handicap in immediately going to the aid of a shipmate in peril will be a lasting inspiration to all seamen, and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Pinnell was born in Rising Star, TX and served in the U.S. Navy during World War I, earning the Navy Cross. He graduated from Pharmacist Training School in Sheepshead Bay.


Harold A. Proctor


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Howard Quinn
Chief Engineer on SS President Coolidge
10/26/42

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

When his ship hit two mines, it immediately listed heavily and all lights below decks were blown out--and the engine room began to fill rapidly. A fireman, severely burned and crippled by the double explosion had been trapped in the fireroom and was in imminent danger of drowning. The only possible way to reach him was through a ventilator to the boat deck, but the vessel's extreme list and the smooth and slippery walls of the ventilator made even this means of rescue well-nigh impossible. Though the ship was sinking rapidly, Chief Engineer Quinn and his First Assistant, with complete disregard for the increasing danger to their own position and without the aid of other than their own hands lowered themselves down the ventilator into the darkness to the fireroom floor plates. Under tremendous physical exertion the rescuers slowly worked their hazardous way up the slippery ventilator carrying the injured man with them.

Chief Engineer Quinn's extraordinary courage in rescuing a shipmate under extremely dangerous conditions will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Quinn lived in San Francisco, CA


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Edward F. Racine
Boatswain on SS James B. Stephens
03/08/43

For distinguished service beyond the line of duty.

After the first of two torpedoes struck his ship, the motor lifeboat was successfully manned and launched, but the explosion of the second torpedo overturned the boat trapping several of its occupants beneath it. Though a high sea, heavily covered with fuel oil, was running, Racine succeeded in pulling the men from under the boat and righting it. Hearing far off cries for help, he unhesitatingly dove again into the black sea, and, after an exhausting struggle through the heavy oil, towed one swimmer back to the comparative safety of the swamped boat. With no rest, he swam again to the assistance of a second man. This man, a poor swimmer, was in a state of near panic, and his frantic struggles caused the Boatswain to lose hold of him after he had been dragged to within a few feet of the boat. All attempts to bail the damaged lifeboat of its oil and water were ineffectual due to the high seas, and only Racine's rallying spirit kept up the morale of the survivors, who, sitting shoulder deep in the water and oil through ten hours of the night were picked up by another lifeboat as the day broke.

His heroism and leadership in the face of multiple dangers were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Racine was born in Little Falls, MN in 1897. He lived in Wilmington, CA


Francis E. RackThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Francis E. Rack
Second Engineer on SS Francis Asbury
12/3/44

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

In a heavy sea, SS Francis Asbury struck an enemy mine which broke the ship's back, and she began to sink rapidly. The Chief Engineer, injured and so badly scalded that he later died on a rescue ship, had been trapped in his room by the disrupted decks. Rack, and the Third Assistant Engineer, with complete disregard for their own safety, smashed their way into the Chief's quarters and carried him to the boat deck. By the time they reached the deck all usable lifeboats and life rafts had been launched or had floated free, and the sea then covered the after deck and was waist-high over the boat deck. About thirty feet away an empty lifeboat floated, alternately tossed toward the ship, and then away, by the heaving sea. After several attempts to secure the boat, the Third Assistant Engineer jumped overboard in an effort to bring it alongside the ship. However, a particularly heavy wave washed him away and out of sight of the two stranded men. By a trick of fate, a following sea washed the boat within the reach of Rack, and he and the injured Chief Engineer were soon picked up by a rescue craft.

His utter disregard of the odds against his own survival in his efforts to save an injured shipmate was a heroic manifestation of the spirit which characterizes the men of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: Mast Magazine, July 1945. Rack, 44, lived in the Bronx, NY and was a New York City policeman before and after the war. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Walter E. ReedThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Walter E. Reed
Master of SS Joseph Cudahy
05/04/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

Witnessing the torpedoing of another ship, [SS Munger T. Ball] he immediately sent out a radio alarm and made complete preparations for the safety of his own vessel and crew. When his ship was struck by a torpedo a few hours later and set on fire he ordered her stopped and put broadside to the wind to obtain a lee. After giving the order to abandon ship, he checked the crew members in lifeboats, and, finding the radio operator and steward missing, returned to the burning amidship quarters. Although he suffered burns to his hands and face in so doing he assisted the radio operator and the blinded, burned and semi-conscious steward to safety.

His extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety in thus rescuing members of his crew will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Reed lived in Oaklyn NJ. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Charles D. RichardsonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Charles D. Richardson
Able Seaman on SS Esso Bolivar
(Panama) 03/07/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

On duty with the Navy gun crew while his ship was under heavy enemy submarine shell fire, he undertook the rescue of two severely wounded Navy members of the crew when the abandon ship order was given. Although himself wounded in the back by a shell fragment, he got both men into the water, placed one on his back and had the other grasp him around the neck. In this manner he was swimming toward a lifeboat when sharks attacked and he was obliged to defend himself and his companions by slashing out with a knife. A shark pulled the wounded man off his back and this man was lost, but he succeeded in getting the second wounded man and himself into the lifeboat. He suffered hand lacerations while fighting off the sharks.

His extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety in his efforts to rescue his shipmates will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Richardson was from Byron, TX. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Charles S. RobbinsThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Charles S. Robbins
Master of SS Juan De Fuca
12/21/44 to 01/19/44

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

His ship, SS Juan De Fuca, had completed discharging troops and vital war material at Leyte under continuous enemy air raids. The ship then loaded troops and gasoline cargo for delivery to Mindoro. En route the convoy was attacked by several Japanese bombers. Suddenly a suicide plane appeared and, although hit many times by the ship's guns, dived into No. 2 hold where its bomb load exploded. Under the personal leadership of Captain Robbins, and with utter disregard to personal risk from the raging furnace, the well-organized crew broke out fire hoses, entered the burning hold and brought the flames under control.

While discharging cargo at Mindoro the port was attacked at dusk by an enemy task force. Moving out of the port to evade the enemy -- while vessel was being strafed from stem to stern -- Captain Robbins so expertly maneuvered his ship for several hours that only minor damage resulted from "near misses." Later when again proceeding from the port to avoid being silhouetted by a burning tanker, a torpedo plane dived on the ship and released an aerial torpedo which exploded in No. 2 hold. In a sinking condition the vessel stranded on a reef. The crew was ordered ashore, the Master and one member of the crew remaining aboard. The following day shore officials issued orders permitting the Master and crew to be evacuated, but Captain Robbins refused to leave his ship. All of his crew, excepting seven, volunteered to remain with him.

For a month, the Master and crew, under continuous air attack, succeeded in discharging the urgently needed cargo, and exerted every effort to save the ship until it was declared abandoned by military authorities. Reluctantly the Master and crew left the ship. Subsequently Captain Robbins and eight members of his crew volunteered and were given permission to man the damaged and abandoned SS John M. Clayton during salvage operations and successfully brought the latter vessel to a United States port.

His unfaltering courage, indomitable determination and expert seamanship in the face of many dangers were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Robbins lived in San Francisco, CA. He served as a field artillery officer during World War I. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

William R. Rudolph
Second Mate on SS John Bascom
12/22/43

Ralph E. Jamieson receives DSM medal while William R. Rudolph looks on  <b>Ralph E. Jamieson recieves DSM medal while William R. Rudolph looks on</b>
Ralph E. Jamieson receives DSM medal while William R. Rudolph looks on.

For distinguished service under unusual hazards and demands.

The SS John Bascom, while moored in the port of Bari, Italy, awaiting orders to discharge her vital cargo, was in very close proximity to an ammunition-laden vessel. An intensive air raid developed, with the result that many ships were exploding and sinking, including the one adjacent to the Bascom, whose deck cargo became a raging inferno. In this menacing situation the Bascom could not be moved into the outer harbor. Coincident with the order to "Abandon Ship" she was strafed from stem to stern, leaving dead and seriously injured crew members on her wrecked decks. In obedience to the Master's orders, Rudolph made his way to the only lifeboat intact, improvised stretchers from shattered bulkheads and after rendering first aid to the acutely wounded, embarked them in the boat, and successfully landed them in two open shelters on the jetty. The explosion of other ships and spread of flames at the shore end of the jetty cut off all escape by this route. However, Rudolph located a flash light and used it to signal to a Norwegian coastal steamer, a British minesweeper and a United States Navy launch, all of which responded, and, by their combined efforts, removed the endangered seamen to a place of safety.

His courage in rendering aid to shipmates and his efforts to maintain their spirits in the face of imminent peril greatly contributed to saving many lives, and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Rudolph lived in Rosedale NY.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John Pershing Ryan
Boatswain on SS West Nohno
09/15/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

In the course of an inspection of the suction lines in the forepeak tank, an engineer officer had been overcome by gases. Ryan and a seaman carrying lifelines voluntarily went down into the deep-tank to rescue him. In order to reach the unconscious man, the rescuers were forced to successively enter two tanks through manholes only sufficiently large to admit the passage of their bodies. Due to the physical difficulty of the rescue, both Ryan and the seaman lost consciousness before the rescue was finally accomplished by other means quickly brought to the scene. All three unconscious men were finally hauled up on deck. Ryan and the engineer officer shortly regained consciousness, but the seaman failed to respond to all resuscitation efforts.[Harold T. Andrews, OS]

Though not wholly successful in his endeavor, Ryan's voluntary acceptance of a task he knew might cost him his own life constitutes a degree of heroism in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Ryan, 25 years old, was from New York, NY.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Frank A. Santina
Second Mate on SS Carrabulle
05/26/42

For heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

The ship upon which Santina served as Second Mate had been struck by an enemy torpedo and was sinking. He, with nineteen others, was lowering away when a second torpedo struck directly below his lifeboat. Eighteen in this boat were instantly killed, and Santina and a Watertender were blown high into the air. Although painfully injured, he assisted the critically injured Watertender to floating wreckage; then swam back to the sinking ship -- launched a life raft -- swam to the Watertender and supported him back to the raft.

His extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety in thus rescuing a shipmate constitute a lasting inspiration to other marine personnel.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Santina was from Montclair NJ


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Philip C. Shera*
Third Engineer on SS Java Arrow
05/05/42

For heroism and especially meritorious service under unusual demands or hazards.

At the time the first torpedo struck his ship he ordered the engine room crew on deck and alone remained to answer the bridge signals. A second torpedo hit the engine room fracturing the steam pipes and killing Shera in the act of answering the bridge telegraph for full astern. After the ship had lost way the remaining 44 survivors were able to launch the lifeboats successfully.

His extraordinary courage and fidelity to trust will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Philip C. Shera was from Columbus, OH


Peter Joseph SigonaThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Peter Joseph Sigona
Master of SS Gulfprince
05/13/42

For meritorious service in the line of duty.

His ship was attacked by a submarine in the early morning hours. An alert lookout sighted the first torpedo. Warning was sounded, and the course changed causing the torpedo to strike a glancing blow on the tip of the bow and pass on without exploding. Under forced draft, the ship steamed ahead with the enemy craft in pursuit. After a long chase, the submarine, unable to overhaul the ship, fired successively four more torpedoes. Captain Sigona kept his ship zigzagging, and, by adroit maneuvers, caused two torpedoes to pass harmlessly astern and two others ahead. After this attack, the ship outdistanced the submarine and escaped without damage to herself or injury to any of her crew.

Captain Sigona's alert leadership and exemplary seamanship are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Sigona, born in Italy in 1902, lived in Port Arthur TX. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Walter G. SittmannThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Walter G. Sittmann
Engine Cadet-Midshipman on SS William T. Coleman
07/20/43

For exceptionally meritorious conduct and intrepidity in action.

During the evening and throughout the night of March 19, 1943 while Cadet-Midshipman Walter G. Sittmann's vessel was moored in company with several other vessels in a port on the north coast of Africa, [Tripoli] a concentrated air attack was made on the assembled vessels by strong formations of enemy aircraft. As the bombing, torpedo and strafing action commenced, two ships moored to the same buoy, and one of which was fast aft to Cadet-Midshipman Sittmann's vessel was loaded with ammunition, bombs, and high octane gasoline.

The stricken vessel which was hit by several bombs forward and aft was ablaze within a matter of seconds, her cargo of ammunition and bombs exploding and flying in all directions.[SS Ocean Voyager] Immediately preparations were underway to slip moorings in order to stand clear of the burning vessel. Engineers were ready below and up forward preparations were made to unmoor. Cadet-Midshipman Sittmann and the radio operator [James C. Huett] volunteered to cut the moorings aft. The stern of the vessel was but six feet from the stern of the blazing ship and the extreme heat plus bursting shells and bombs made this mission extremely hazardous. Within a few minutes the volunteers had accomplished their mission and their ship was able to proceed to a safe distance from the burning vessels which soon disintegrated with a terrific explosion.

The magnificent courage and complete disregard for his own personal safety shown by Cadet-Midshipman Sittmann in his effort to save his ship, cargo and the lives of his shipmates constitutes a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Sittmann was born in Brooklyn NY in 1919. Photo: We'll Deliver: Early History of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 1938-1956


Holger E. SorensenThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Holger Emile Sorensen
Master of MS Cape Decision
01/27/43

For heroism and distinguished service under unusual hazards.

His ship was hit simultaneously by two torpedoes on the port quarter, blowing out the underwater part of the stern and starting fires in the after ammunition magazine. The deck cargo was broken up, and large crates and parcels of war equipment were set adrift in the water. Due to splendid discipline and daily boat drills, all seventy-seven crew and passengers abandoned ship without injury or loss of life. Two members of the after gun crew, who had been forced to jump overboard, were in double danger of being caught in the suction near the stern of the ship, or killed by the imminent explosion of the burning ammunition magazine. Mindful of this danger, and refusing to place his boatload of survivors in further jeopardy by rowing under the stern, the Master dove overboard and brought the exhausted men safely to the lifeboat through the tossing wreckage. Equipped with all necessary navigational gear and with sails of the Master's own design, the lifeboats headed into squalls and heavy seas for the nearest land 900 miles away. His farsighted planning for such emergencies and his exceptional navigational skill landed the survivors nine days later within a half-hour of his time reckoning.

His heroic disregard of his own safety, and his exemplary leadership under stress, constitute qualities of service which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Sorensen, 46 years old, was from Robertsdale, Alabama. Photo: San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 1943


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to
Albert P. Spaulding
Master of SS Uruguay
02/12/43

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

Capt. Albert P. Spaulding DSMAt midnight, in a heavy storm, SS Uruguay with 4,700 troops aboard, was rammed by a tanker in the same convoy. The bow of the tanker penetrated thirty-eight feet into the troopship creating a gaping hole seventy feet wide and from keel to A deck. Thirteen soldiers were killed in the crash; and more than fifty injured soldiers were trapped in the wreckage. Captain Spaulding and his First Officer, with complete disregard for their own safety, descended into the damaged area, and, with the exercise of high courage and resourcefulness, succeeded in extricating and rescuing the injured and trapped men.

This action, carried out only with the aid of flashlights, involved constant and grave danger of being washed overboard through the gaping hole in the ship's side, injury from the jagged edges of the torn plates of bulkheads and decks, and' electrocution from exposed live wires. After all the injured were removed from the wreckage, a temporary bulkhead was constructed to cover the hole in the ship's side. On one occasion, a particularly heavy sea tore out this temporary bulkhead, but a new one was quickly rebuilt. Three days after the collision, he brought his ship into a safe harbor without further casualties.

Captain Spaulding's calm and capable handling of a situation of extreme danger undoubtedly was instrumental in the saving of many lives, his ship, and her valuable cargo of war material. His courage and resourcefulness were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: MAST Magazine, March 1948. Spaulding lived in Kimberton, PA


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

James Gilbert Squires*
Second Cook on SS Malantic
03/09/43

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

SS Malantic was torpedoed during a heavy North Atlantic storm. A fresh gale was blowing from the northwest with frequent squalls, and a high breaking sea was running. Eleven of her survivors, in one lifeboat, were sighted in the night by a British rescue ship, which, only by the most expert seamanship, was brought alongside the wallowing lifeboat. A line, tossed to the lifeboat, was caught and held by Squires until the injured Master and all other nine survivors were safely aboard the rescue ship. When Squires was finally able to let go the line, his efforts to keep the heavy lifeboat alongside during the difficult rescue of his shipmates had so exhausted him he was unable to drag himself up the rescue net. The violent motions of the ship fighting the heavy seas pounded the weakened man into unconsciousness, and he was swept away into the blackness.

His high courage and devotion, given to the ultimate limit of his endurance, assured the rescue of his shipmates at the cost of his own life.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Squires lived in Everett MA


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Joseph Squires*
Able Seaman on SS Maiden Creek I
12/31/42

For heroism above and beyond the line of duty.

In the course of the voyage, the ship in which he served had already run into heavy weather and had suffered considerable damage. Before temporary repairs could be made by her crew, she encountered a second storm of greater intensity. Huge seas were shipped again and again, and the bitter cold caused severe icing which put the ship down by the head. The constant pounding of the seas breached the forepeak and No. 1 hold which began to fill. The ship endeavored to come about and run before the wind and sea but this maneuver was unsuccessful and it soon became apparent that she would founder in a very short time. Orders were given to abandon ship. The storms had badly damaged all lifeboats, except two, and the crew entered these and were lowered away. Squires and another able seaman volunteered to lower the boats, though neither was assigned to this station. Both of these men had the opportunity to leave the ship but chose to remain behind with the full knowledge that their rescue would be impossible, and that they could not hope to survive in the raging seas. Both men went down with their ship.

Able Seaman Squires self-sacrificing courage and disregard of his own safety for that of his shipmates was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Joseph Squires, 33 years old, was from Brooklyn, NY.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Harry E. Stark
Master of SS Cape Neddick
05/12/43

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

His ship, carrying a full cargo of military supplies and a deck cargo of locomotives and tanks, was torpedoed shortly after midnight. The explosion blew a hole twenty feet by thirty feet in the starboard side forward. The ship immediately settled by the head until the hole was completely under water and the forward decks were flooded. Captain Stark ordered all to abandon ship except the gun crew, his Chief Officer and the Deck Cadet who volunteered to remain aboard in the hope that some action might be taken against the attacking submarine.

A quick inspection indicated that there might be a chance of saving the ship, whereupon he called for volunteers from the nearest lifeboat to man the engine room. The First and Third Assistant Engineers, an oiler, a fireman, and the Chief Electrician responded, and soon had the ship sharply zig-zagging away from the danger zone. Captain Stark continued these maneuvers in a broad circling movement until some time after daylight, when, satisfied that he had eluded the submarine, he changed course to pick up the rest of his crew in the lifeboats. This accomplished, there then began a four-day voyage which called upon all the skill of a Master Mariner and the determination and courage of a gallant crew to bring the crippled ship into a sheltered bay. There a wire net was fashioned and stretched with tarpaulins over the hole, and the ship proceeded for another four days to a port where her cargo could be discharged and repairs made.

Captain Stark's courage and seamanship, so largely contributory to the saving of his men, his ship and the valuable military cargo she carried, are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Stark was from Reading, MA. He was born in 1895 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War I.


Michael StevensThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Michael Stevens
Chief Engineer on SS Pat Harrison
05/08/43

For heroism above the line of duty.

His ship was hit directly under the boilers by an enemy mine. The fireman on watch was blown on top of one of the engine cylinders, where he lay helpless from grave wounds and severe body burns. With the sea rushing into the engine room through a great hole in the ship's bottom, Stevens went below and dragged the helpless fireman to safety. The fireman ultimately recovered from his wounds and burns.

Stevens's heroism in thus saving the life of one of his shipmates at great risk to his own is in keeping with the fine traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Michael Stevens, 54 years old, was from Hillside, NJ. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Ford StilsonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Ford Stilson
Chief Steward on SS Stephen Hopkins
09/27/42

For meritorious service under unusual hazards.

Two enemy surface raiders attacked the merchantman upon which he was serving. Heavy guns of one raider pounded his ship, and machine gun fire from the other sprayed her decks at close quarters. Answering shot for shot, the gallant merchantman succeeded in sinking one of the raiders before she finally went under carrying many of her fighting crew with her. With complete disregard for his own safety, Stilson repeatedly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire in ministering to his wounded shipmates during the engagement. Later, in a lifeboat with eighteen others, he continued to attend the seriously injured and assisted materially in maintaining morale for the thirty-one days before the lifeboat succeeded in making a landing.

His courage and outstanding devotion to duty, in keeping with the highest traditions of American seamanship, will be a lasting inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Stilson [on right], Capt. W.C. Tooze, USNR, Naval Reserve Director for 12th Naval district, Comdr. A.G. Ford, U.S. Maritime Service Officers' School, Alameda. Photo: Oakland California Tribune, August 23, 1943. Stilson, 32 years old, lived in Freeport IL.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Nikolai Kristian Storkersen
Chief Mate on SS Samuel Parker
07/19/43

For heroism under enemy action.

His ship, SS Samuel Parker, supporting our landing on the Sicily beachhead, was unloading high explosives and aviation gasoline when a wave of enemy planes strafed the ship with incendiary and explosive bullets. Several of these hit into open hatches setting fire to the cargo. Though an explosion, which might completely demolish the ship, was imminent, Chief Officer Storkersen and an Able Seaman [Fred Anderson] unhesitatingly descended into one hold with fire hose and extinguished the fires in the ammunition, and then, stopping only long enough to strap on foamite shoulder tanks, descended into the other hold and extinguished the gasoline fires.

His heroism in the face of almost certain death was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Storkersen was born in Norway in 1907


Elmer J. StullThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Elmer J. Stull
Master of SS Samuel Parker
07/19/43

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

For ten months, his ship, SS Samuel Parker, was in continuous service between Egyptian and Tunisian ports transporting troops and highly explosive war material which contributed immeasurably to the success of the British North African campaign. Over one hundred and thirty holes in her hull and superstructure wrote the story in steel of the numerous and vicious poundings she received from enemy planes and submarines. Many near misses, the concussions of which blew out wooden bulkheads and sprung all doors within the ship, further attest to the severity of attacks, and the charmed life of his gallant ship. Always with complete disregard for his personal safety, Captain Stull conned his ship through these many attacks--through enemy blockades--and past exploding ships, in a manner so masterful as to inspire his crew to acts equally courageous.

His leadership, seamanship, and cool courage in the face of many dangers were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Stull, born in 1887, served in the U.S. Navy during World War I. He lived in Seattle WA. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Hugh Lee Switzer
Master of SS Exceller
11/07/42

For distinguished service in enemy action.

SS Exceller, carrying troops and heavy landing craft, was the only merchant ship of the American landing operations at a beachhead east of Algiers. Although subjected to repeated air attacks, the cargo ship, under Captain Switzer's skillful handling, launched landing craft, disembarked troops, and discharged heavy anti-aircraft guns on schedule with the Navy operations, and was the first ship to enter the port of Algiers after the opening of hostilities.1 So effectively did his crew and the Military and Naval personnel on board work together that the hazardous operations were successfully accomplished without the loss of a man or a boat.

His expert ship handling, his foresight and sound judgment in preparing for the operations, and his calm leadership under fire were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Switzer lived in Peconic NY.


William Morris Thomas, Jr.The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

William Morris Thomas, Jr.
Engine Cadet-Midshipman on SS Edgar Allen Poe
11/8/42

For extraordinary heroism above and beyond the line of duty.

The ship upon which he was serving was loaded in all holds with highly explosive war material when attacked by torpedo and shell fire from an enemy submarine. The torpedo struck amidship, demolishing the engine and rupturing all steam and fuel pipes. The engineer and fireman on watch met immediate death. An oiler, blown to the top of the cylinder heads, lay helpless as a result of multiple wounds. Hearing his cries, Thomas descended into the darkness of the steam-filled wreckage and carried the injured man to the deck. By this time all undamaged lifeboats were away. Launching a small balsa liferaft, he succeeded in getting the wounded man over the side and lashed him securely to the raft. Thomas then swam alongside the raft for about twenty hours until they were picked up by a rescue ship.

His magnificent courage and disregard of his own safety in saving the life of his shipmate constitute a degree of heroism which will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: Americans Who Have Contributed to the History and Traditions of the United States Merchant Marine. In recognition of his valorous service rendered to his country through the rescue of fellow mariner, William Hutchinson of Portland, Oregon, William Morris Thomas, Jr. from Alameda, California, was depicted on a poster and Collier's magazine cover. Although severely wounded, Thomas asked to be returned to active duty immediately upon his recovery. San Francisco Chronicle, December 8, 1943

Polaris article, June 1943, about William M. Thomas


George Thornthwaite merchant marine heroThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

George Thornthwaite
Second Engineer on SS Samuel Q. Brown
5/23/42

For heroism and meritorious conduct under unusual hazards.

He was on watch, in the early morning hours, when his ship was struck by an enemy torpedo. The heavy explosion wrecked the dynamos and extinguished all lights below. Thornthwaite ordered all the men in the engine room and fireroom up on deck and, with the aid of a flashlight, stopped and reversed the engines to take way off the ship in order that the lifeboats might be safely launched. While engaged in this task, he had heard a fireman calling for help from between the boilers. The man was rapidly losing consciousness as Thornthwaite guided him across the engine room, which, by this time, was blazing with oil from ruptured bunkers.

Reaching the ladder, he dragged the fireman to the first grating, and then was forced to drop him in order to beat out the flames from his own clothing. The fireman fell back to the blazing floor plates and Thornthwaite again went below and succeeded in dragging the man to the comparative safety of the deck. Upon abandoning the sinking ship, the lifeboat carrying Thornthwaite and twenty-one other survivors was thrown against the burning ship and into the path of oil burning on the water. Some of the occupants of this boat became panic-stricken, but the engineer's coolness, courage and persuasion set an example in morale that quieted the panic and encouraged the men to pullout of the blazing area to open water and ultimate rescue.

His extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety in his efforts to save the lives of his shipmates constitute a degree of heroism that will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Thornthwaite was from Port Arthur, TX. Photo courtesy Wilfred Thornthwaite.


Frank F. TownsendThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Frank F. Townsend
Chief Engineer on SS Deer Lodge
05/18/42

For distinguished service under unusual stress and hazards.

After completing the delivery of vital war material, the ship in which he was serving as the Chief Engineer was anchored in a Russian port awaiting formation of a homeward-bound convoy when an aerial bomb blew in several of the stern plates and frames of his ship. He rushed below and closed the shaft alley water-tight door and thus prevented the flooding of the engine room and fireroom. Later, by the exercise of exceptional ingenuity, he aided in beaching the ship by her own tackle on a nearby mud flat. For two months, a period in which the crew was often called to defend itself or to assist in the defense of the port against extensive enemy air activities, he planned and supervised repairs which again put the ship in a seaworthy condition.

His determination that his ship be saved and his exercise of exceptional technical skill were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Townsend lived in Sickleville NJ. He was born in 1895 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War I. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

John Tryg
Master of SS Schoharie
09/12/42

His ship, SS Schoharie, loaded with a cargo of war material, was in an early Russia bound convoy which, for five days and nights was subjected to a running battle with enemy submarines, bombing planes and torpedo planes. The ship was without defense armament except for two 20 mm Oerlikons and two .30 caliber machine guns. During this period, the ship's guns were credited with the possible destruction of four enemy planes.

Once a torpedo plane made a direct attack on the ship, dropping his torpedo within 100 yards. Due to Captain Tryg's clear maneuvering of the ship and the fine direction of the light armament, the torpedo passed fifteen feet astern. As the plane flew away the starboard engine was observed to be in flames and smoking badly. In face of all the enemy could do in the air, on the surface, and under the sea, his expert seamanship and the magnificent discipline of his crew, brought the ship safely to her destination.

Captain Tryg exhibited qualities of leadership and high courage in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Tryg lived in Savannah GA. He was born in Denmark in 1903.


Leonard Walter ValentineThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Leonard Walter Valentine
Chief Engineer on SS Francis C. Harrington
06/07/44

For distinguished service beyond the line of duty.

His ship, SS Francis C. Harrington, while participating in the initial assault on the Normandy Beach, was seriously damaged by enemy mines. A large hole was blown through the port side after well by the double explosion; nearly all of the auxiliary machinery was either disabled or damaged by the shock; four sections of the main shaft line were sprung; and six of the line shaft bearings were shattered. Working in the flooded engine room and shaft alley for five days, often up to his neck in water, Chief Engineer Valentine, aided by a well trained and loyal engine room crew, removed the broken bearings, straightened the main line shaft with hydraulic jacks, fabricated wooden shaft bearings and installed them, and repaired the auxiliary machinery sufficiently to enable the ship to proceed on her mission and then return to England under her own steam.

Chief Engineer Valentine's skill, ingenuity, and stout determination, which resulted in the deliverance of a vitally necessary cargo and the eventual salvaging of his ship, constitute service of the highest order, and will be a lasting inspiration to all men of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Valentine, born in 1897, lived in Baltimore MD. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Paul Irwin Valentine
Second Cook and Baker on SS Daniel Huger
05/09/43

For heroism beyond the call of duty.

His ship was subjected to a two-hour high level bombing attack by seventeen enemy planes. As a result of a near miss, bomb fragments pierced the hull and the cargo of high octane gasoline exploded. Despite heroic efforts to combat the flames two to three hundred feet high, the fire was soon out of control and the ship was abandoned. Upon arrival of the shore fire brigade it was decided to try to save the ship with foamite. It was necessary to have a few men return to the ship, enter the adjacent hold, and play a hose on the heated bulkhead to prevent the raging fire from spreading. Second Cook and Baker Valentine was one of four who volunteered to risk his life in an attempt to save part of the cargo, which was so necessary to the continuance of war opera-Lions. That the fire was eventually brought under control and most of the cargo saved, was due in no small measure to his outstanding bravery.

His willingness to risk his life to save his ship, and his heroic conduct during the fire are in keeping with the finest traditions of the sea.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Valentine, born 1907, lived in Cleveland OH.


Phil Cox VannaisThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Phil Cox Vannais
Engine Cadet-Midshipman on SS Daniel Huger
05/09/43

For heroism beyond the call of duty.

His ship was subjected to a two-hour high level bombing attack by seventeen enemy planes [Bone, Algeria]. As a result of a near miss, bomb fragments pierced the hull and the cargo of high octane gasoline exploded. Despite heroic efforts to combat the flames two to three hundred feet high, the fire was soon out of control and the ship was abandoned. Upon arrival of the shore fire brigade it was decided to try to save the ship with foamite. It was necessary to have a few men returned to the ship, enter the adjacent hold, and play a hose on the heated bulkhead to prevent the raging fire from spreading.

Cadet-Midshipman Vannais was one of four who volunteered to risk his life in an attempt to save part of the cargo, which was so necessary to the continuance of war operations. That the fire was eventually brought under control and most of the cargo saved, was due in no small measure to his outstanding bravery.

His willingness to risk his life to save his ship, and his heroic conduct during the fire are in keeping with the finest traditions of the sea.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Vannais was born in 1920 and lived in Leonia NJ. Photo: We'll Deliver: Early History of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 1938-1956.


George A. VickersThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

George A. Vickers
Master of SS Nathaniel Greene (GSA)
03/42 to 02/24/43

For distinguished service in the line of duty.

In the early spring of 1942, SS Nathaniel Greene sailed with a full cargo bound for Russia [PQ-18]. Eleven months later, with all housing above deck either demolished or damaged, and with her bow blown away, she was beached by her crew on the North African coast. But in those eleven months she had delivered an urgently needed cargo to our Russian ally; returned to the United Kingdom and repaired and loaded there; and had delivered an equally vital cargo to our own forces in North Africa. On the Russian voyage, the ship survived ten torpedo plane and bomber attacks, was twice attacked by submarines, and had dodged four torpedoes by clever maneuvering. In a sustained attack, over three days, the ship's guns were credited with the possible destruction of eight enemy planes.

On the succeeding voyage, she had discharged nearly all of her military cargo at Algerian ports and was en route to her final port of call when struck by two torpedoes. In a sinking condition, she was further attacked by enemy aircraft. The planes hit her with three aerial torpedoes but during the fight a shell from one of her guns tore off the tail of one of the attacking planes. With bow under water; below decks bulkheads ripped out; deck houses wrecked; and steam pipes broken, she was towed in stern first and successfully beached.

Captain Vickers, Master of a gallant ship and a gallant crew, exhibited qualities of leadership and high courage in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Alexander WaigandtThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Alexander Waigandt
Purser on SS Daniel Huger
05/09/43

For heroism beyond the call of duty.

His ship was subjected to a two-hour high level bombing attack by seventeen enemy planes [Bone, Algeria]. As a result of a near miss, bomb fragments pierced the hull and the cargo of high octane gasoline exploded. Despite heroic efforts to combat the flames two to three hundred feet high, the fire was soon out of control and the ship was abandoned. Upon arrival of the shore fire brigade it was decided to try to save the ship with foamite. It was necessary to have a few men return to the ship, enter the adjacent hold, and play a hose on the heated bulkhead to prevent the raging fire from spreading. Purser Waigandt was one of four who volunteered to risk his life in an attempt to save part of the cargo, which was so necessary to the continuance of war operations. That the fire was eventually brought under control and most of the cargo saved, was due in no small measure to his outstanding bravery.

His willingness to risk his life to save his ship, and his heroic conduct during the fire are in keeping with the finest traditions of the sea.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Left to right: Edward McCauley, Commissioner, War Shipping Administration; Commander Joseph H. Masse, USN, Captain "TS American Mariner," Alexander Waigandt. Waigandt, 19 years old, was from Astoria, NY. Photo courtesy Alexander Waigandt.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright V
Master of SS Bushrod Washington
09/14/43

For distinguished service under especially hazardous conditions.

His own ship having been hit with a heavy bomb, [Salerno, Italy] and the resulting fire being beyond control, he displayed exceptional leadership in having all survivors safely abandon ship before it blew up. Subsequently, he was appointed by the Naval Commander of Landing Operations to take over a cargo ship which had been heavily bombed and abandoned. But her cargo was gasoline and ammunition urgently needed by our invasion forces which had just established a beach-head on the shore one-half mile away. The engine room of this ship was flooded with thirty feet of water -- her deck gear was almost completely wrecked -- and the bodies of over fifty dead soldiers, sailors and merchant seamen lay about her decks.

His first task was to get those bodies ashore for proper registration and burial. Then, by various ingenious methods, Wainwright and nine volunteers from his own crew, determinedly labored for nine days under exceptionally dangerous conditions to get that vital cargo landed. With this task completed, it was determined that the ship might be salvaged. Utilizing air compressors, and steering from the after deck, Wainwright brought the critically damaged ship, under tow by another Liberty ship, through heavy seas and high winds to Bizerte for repairs.

His unfaltering courage, indomitable determination, and expert seamanship in accomplishing his missions under unusually trying circumstances were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Gen Jonathan Wainwright Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright V

Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry. Gen Jonathan Wainwright, newly released from
Japanese POW camps visits his son and other officers of the SS Lakeland Victory.

Wainwright Praises Men Who 'Deliver the Goods': General Jonathan Wainwright, after inspecting his son's ship, the Lakeland Victory in San Francisco harbor, said: "I am proud that my son, Commander Wainwright of the U. S. Maritime Service, is part of this great American Merchant Marine...The winning of the war depended upon the amount of supplies that were delivered by this great fleet to every Pacific base and beachhead." (NEPTUNE newsletter, U. S. Maritime Officer's Training School, Alameda, California. September 1945)] Wainwright, born in 1913, lived in Brooklyn NY.


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Frederick O. Williams
Third Engineer on SS Francis Asbury
12/03/44

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

In a heavy sea, SS Francis Asbury struck an enemy mine which broke the ship's back, and she began to sink rapidly. The Chief Engineer, injured and so badly scalded that he later died on a rescue ship, had been trapped in his room by the disrupted decks. Williams, and the Second Assistant Engineer [Francis E. Rack] with complete disregard for their own safety, smashed their way into the Chief's quarters and carried him to the boat deck. By the time they reached the deck all usable lifeboats and life rafts had been launched or had floated free, and the sea then covered the after deck and was waist-high over the boat deck. About thirty feet away an empty lifeboat floated, alternately tossed toward the ship, and then away, by the heaving sea. After several attempts to secure the boat, Williams jumped overboard in an effort to bring it alongside the ship. However, a particularly heavy wave washed him away and out of sight of the two stranded men. By a trick of fate, a following sea washed the boat within the reach of the Second Assistant Engineer, and he and the injured Chief Engineer were soon picked up by a rescue craft. Four hours later, the rescue boat also located Williams and rescued him.

His utter disregard of the odds against his own survival in his efforts to save an injured shipmate was a heroic manifestation of the spirit which characterizes the men of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Williams made his home in Oak Park IL


The President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Jesse Alton Williams
First Engineer on SS Elizabeth Kellogg
11/23/43

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

When the fully loaded Elizabeth Kellogg was struck by an enemy torpedo, three of the 'midships tanks were ruptured and the ship, from bridge to stern, was instantly enveloped in flames. Fed by the erupting oil cargo, the fire spread rapidly forward trapping all those who survived the initial blast. The flames prevented the launching of any of the lifeboats, and many of the crew were forced to jump over the side only to face equally grave danger from the flaming oil rapidly spreading over the water. Aware that their only hope lay in launching the life rafts, Williams, with complete disregard for his own safety, ran aft through the flames and tripped the releases launching three rafts. In this selfless act of heroism, he was critically burned over more than one-half of his body, but it doubtless was the means of saving many of his shipmates who otherwise would have perished.

This heroic deed, exemplifying the creed of the merchant seaman, was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land


Owen John WilliamsThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Owen John Williams
Able Seaman on MS Baltic
(Panama)

For heroic conduct above and beyond the call of duty.

The ship in which he served was moored in a foreign port alongside a gasoline refinery and a large store of gasoline in tanks. A member of the ship's company, who was temporarily crazed, seized a machine gun on the starboard wing of the bridge, and was firing with intent to kill certain crew members. Realizing that stray tracer bullets might explode the highly volatile gasoline stored nearby, thus endangering the ship and that part of the harbor, Williams ran to the bridge to stop the firing. At the risk of almost certain death, he worked his way to the vicinity of the crazed man, and, dropping quickly to avoid a machine gun burst aimed at him, he charged in under the gun and overpowered the gunner as the latter was swinging the weapon to bear upon other crew members hurrying to the spot. He failed by a split second to prevent the last burst from killing the Chief Officer, but certainly saved the lives of other shipmates and undoubtedly prevented the explosion of the gasoline stores.

The magnificent courage displayed by Williams in his effort to save the lives of his shipmates and prevent a possible catastrophe, constitutes a degree of heroism that will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Owen J. Williams was from Miami, FL. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Elbert C. WilsonThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Elbert C. Wilson
Master of SS Exhibitor
04/03/42

For especially meritorious service under unusual hazards.

While moving down a narrow river in convoy with other vessels, his ship underwent a bombing attack by an enemy plane, which finally succeeded in scoring a direct hit in No. 6 hatch. A hole was blown through the ship's side; all hatches and beams from the 'tween decks and upper decks were totally destroyed; all booms severely damaged and rendered useless, and a fire of considerable proportions was started in the upper 'tween deck. Under the able leadership of the Master, the ship's well-organized and disciplined crew responded to the emergency without confusion and had the damage and fire under control within a few minutes. He then succeeded in getting his ship into a nearby foreign port for repairs, although all the other vessels of this convoy were reported to have been subsequently destroyed by the enemy. The day before reaching an east coast United States port the ship was, on two occasions, a target for submarine attacks which were averted by his skillful seamanship. Again, on the next day, a submarine, partly surfaced, tried to overhaul his vessel, but was shaken off before it could get within effective firing range.

His courage and exercise of effective control in the saving of his ship and crew will be an enduring inspiration to seamen of the United States Merchant Marine everywhere.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Wilson lived in West Hartford CT. Photo: Who's Who in the Maritime Industry.


Russell O. WirtzThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Russell O. Wirtz
Purser on SS Esso Baton Rouge
02/23/43

For meritorious service beyond the line of duty.

When his ship, the SS Esso Baton Rouge, was sunk by an enemy torpedo, four of her crew were seriously burned. One, a member of the Armed Guard who had been burned over one-third of his body and was blinded, and another merchant seaman, not so severely burned but also blinded, were pushed overboard by Wirtz and supported by him in the water until picked up by a British corvette. The rescue vessel already had aboard about 200 survivors of other torpedoed ships and her medical staff was taxed beyond capacity for adequate care of the injured.

Wirtz, who had been a medical student years ago, volunteered his services, and was assigned the care of nine of the most serious cases, two of which were in critical condition. For eleven days and nights he tended these injured seamen, in some cases hourly treatment being necessary. He administered sedatives, and skillfully performed delicate surgical operations which elicited the admiration of the regularly assigned British Naval Surgeons. By his technical skill and his untiring efforts he probably saved the lives of seven men, and definitely did so in the two most serious cases.

His unselfish devotion to his injured shipmates, and his ability to meet emergencies by efficiently performing duties far beyond those expected of him, will forever serve as an inspiration of the men of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Wirtz lived in East Orange NJ.


Frederick R. ZitoThe President of the United States takes Pleasure in Presenting the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal to

Frederick R. Zito
Engine Cadet-Midshipman on SS Fitz John Porter
03/01/43

For heroism beyond the line of duty.

The ship in which he served was torpedoed at night. The crew abandoned the fast-sinking ship in an orderly manner except for one man. This man, a fireman weighing 250 pounds, lost his hold in descending the Jacobs ladder. In his struggles to catch himself, he became so fouled in the boat falls that he was hanging head down and helpless. Zito left his position in the lifeboat; climbed hand over hand up the falls, and attempted to extricate the now thoroughly panic-stricken man. Thwarted in his efforts to free the fireman, the young cadet cut the falls above them with his clasp knife and both men fell into the sea. Zito worked desperately to remove the ropes from the still struggling fireman. Failing in this, he, now at the point of exhaustion, took the entangled man in tow until both were picked up by a lifeboat.
Zito's heroism in thus saving the life of one of his shipmates at great risk to his own is in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.

For the President
Admiral Emory Scott Land

Zito was born in 1921 and lived in Corona NY. Photo: We'll Deliver: Early History of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 1938-1956


Selected Stories of Gallant Ships
Citations for Meritorious Service Medal

Merchant Marine Medals
Men and Ships of World War II
Laws Establishing Merchant Marine Medals
Home


Sources text of Citations and photos:

Burial Information:

04/02/12

www.USMM.org ©1998-2012. You may quote material on this web page as long as you cite American Merchant Marine at War, www.usmm.org, as the source. You may not use more than a few lines without permission. If you see substantial portions of this page on the Internet or in published material please notify us. usmm.org @ comcast.net