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Charles H. Willey

Born March 31, 1889 in East Boston, MA. Died September 11, 1977, Concord, NH.

Citation: For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession while serving on board the USS Memphis, at a time when that vessel was suffering total destruction from a hurricane while anchored off Santo Domingo City, 29 August, 1916. Machinist Willey took his station in the engineer’s department and remained at his post of duty amidst scalding steam and the rush of thousands of tons of water into his department as long as the engines would turn, leaving only when ordered to leave. When the boilers exploded, he assisted in getting the men out of the fireroom and carrying them into the engineroom, where there was air instead of steam to breathe. Machinist Willey’s conduct on this occasion was above and beyond the call of duty.