Other Conflicts - Navy Cross - 1915-1926

Listed below are the recipients of the Navy Cross awarded for conflicts other than major wars as follows:

1st Haitian Campaign (1915-1916) - 1
Diplomatic Service (1916-1917) - 1
Dominican Campaign and Others (1916-1918) - 5
Gillespie Plant Explosion (October 4, 1918) - 12
Influenza Epidemic (1918-1919) - 7
NC Trans-Atlantic Flights (1919) - 15
2nd Haitian Campaign (1919-1920) - 9
Miscellaneous Awards (1919-1926) - 5
Lake Denmark Fire (July 10, 1926) - 20
S-51 Rescue and Salvage (1926) - 12

* Indicates Killed in Action (KIA), Missing in Action (MIA), Prisoner of War (POW), or Died Non-Battle (DNB)

1st Haitian Campaign (1915-1916)

Diplomatic Service (1916-1917)

Dominican Campaign and Others (1916-1918)

Gillespie Plant Explosion (October 4, 1918)

Influenza Epidemic (1918)

NC Trans-Atlantic Flights (1919)

During World War I the U.S. Navy used a 4-engine (3 in front and 1 behind pushing) Navy-Curtiss Flying Boat for anti-submarine patrols.  Shortly after the end of the war, four of these numbered NC-1 through NC-4 were tasked with attempting to make the first trans-Atlantic crossing.  NC-2 was cannibalized for parts when its engine layout proved unsatisfactory, thus on May 8, 1919, only three of the seaplanes was able to depart Rockaway, NY, in an effort to reach Lisbon, Portugal by way of New Foundland and the Azores Islands.

The crews of all three flying boats braved unknown dangers and a myriad of emergencies, but on May 27 the NC-4 reached Lisbon, completing the first aerial crossing from North America to Europe.  The 4,526 mile journey was completed  in 53 hours, 58 minutes.

Though neither NC-1 or NC-3 completed the mission, their crews demonstrated great initiative and courage.  The NC-1 went down at sea where the crew was rescued and the airplane sunken to avoid it becoming a hazard to shipping.  The crew of the NC-3 also went down at sea in a gale and was feared lost.  The courageous men endured two days in the battered airplane, wallowing in 30-foot waves.  The men drank rusty water from the radiators while NC-3 drifted backward for 200 miles to finally reach the Azores

The crews of all three aircraft survived the history effort and were awarded the Navy Cross.  One crewman died after the flight but before the awards were presented.

2nd Haitian Campaign (1919-1920)

Following the first Haitian Campaign of 1915 during which six Marines earned Medals of Honor and one the Navy Cross, the unrest diminished under the aggressive patrols of Marines stationed on the island.  The emergence four years later of new rebel leadership under Charlemagne Peralte led to increased combat activity and other new leaders including Benoit Batraville.  During the 2nd Haitian Campaign two Marines earned Medals of Honor for the capture of Peralte.  Nine Marines earned Navy Crosses from 1920 to 1930 in continuing actions, including four Marines who earned the Navy Cross for attacking a large rebel force and killing Bratville on May 19, 1920.

Miscellaneous Awards (1924-1926)

Lake Denmark Fire (July 10, 1926)

On July 10, 1926, the Lake Denmark Naval Ammunition Depot was struck by lightening causing massive damage, the deaths of nineteen, and scores injured.  Fortunately it was Saturday and most crews were out of the buildings most damaged in the explosion.  Twenty men received Navy Crosses for their heroism in the aftermath, which spread to numerous nearby buildings and rocked houses inside the town.  Eight of the men who were so recognized, died in their moment of valor.

Lake Denmark Fire - Navy

Lake Denmark Fire - Marine Corps

S-51 Rescue and Salvage (1926)

On on the night of September 25, 1925, the US submarine S-51 under command of Lieutenant Rodney Dobson, collided at sea with the steamer City of Rome while on the surface off Block Island, RI.  The steamer passed over the top of the submarine forcing it beneath the water where it quickly sank.  Only three of the sub's crew of thirty-six managed to escape and survive before it settled in 132 feet of water.

The following day the first Navy diver reached the submarine and all indications were that none of the 33 men within the hull had survived.  Despite this, an unsuccessful rescue effort was mounted.

On October 16 Navy Divers from the USS Falcon supported by numerous other ships began the task of trying to raise and salvage the S-51.  In frigid waters of the open sea, diving operations continued through December 6.  The salvage effort was resumed on April 26, 1926, and continued until the submarine was raised on June 5 and towed to the Brooklyn (NY) Navy Yard where it was placed on display.

The dangerous process of raising the S-4 was accomplished primarily by fifteen Navy divers, most of whom participated in both the winter and spring effort.  Twelve of them were awarded the Navy Cross for risking their lives to salvage the S-51.

  * Second Award for S-4 Rescue and Salvage
**Second Award for S-4 Rescue and Third Award for Submarine Escape Device Development
***Second Award in World War II
****Second Award for Submarine Escape Device