*CROMWELL, JOHN PHILIP
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Navy.
Born: 11 September 1901, Henry, Ill. Appointed from: Illinois. Other
Navy award: Legion of Merit.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty as Commander of a Submarine Coordinated Attack Group with Flag in the U.S.S.
Sculpin, during the 9th War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters off Truk
Island, 19 November 1943. Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first
large-scale offensive in the Pacific, Capt. Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group,
possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled
Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out
his secret orders, he moved his underseas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage
opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese
stronghold at Truk. Cool and undaunted as the submarine, rocked and battered by Japanese
depth charges, sustained terrific battle damage and sank to an excessive depth, he
authorized the Sculpin to surface and engage the enemy in a gunfight, thereby providing an
opportunity for the crew to abandon ship. Determined to sacrifice himself rather than risk
capture and subsequent danger of revealing plans under Japanese torture or use of drugs,
he stoically remained aboard the mortally wounded vessel as she plunged to her death.
Preserving the security of his mission, at the cost of his own life, he had served his
country as he had served the Navy, with deep integrity and an uncompromising devotion to
duty. His great moral courage in the face of certain death adds new luster to the
traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.