Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Navy

Cassin Young

  • Rank: Commander (Highest Rank: Captain)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S.S. Vestal
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 7, 1941
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, USA

For distinguished conduct in action, outstanding heroism and utter disregard of his own safety, above and beyond the call of duty, as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Vestal, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by enemy Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Comdr. Young proceeded to the bridge and later took personal command of the three-inch antiaircraft gun. When blown overboard by the blast of the forward magazine explosion of the U.S.S. Arizona, to which the U.S.S. Vestal was moored, he swam back to his ship. The entire forward part of the U.S.S. Arizona was a blazing inferno with oil afire on the water between the two ships; as a result of several bomb hits, the U.S.S. Vestal was afire in several places, was settling and taking on a list. Despite severe enemy bombing and strafing at the time and his shocking experience of having been blown overboard, Comdr. Young, with extreme coolness and calmness, moved his ship to an anchorage distant from the U.S.S. Arizona, and subsequently beached the U.S.S. Vestal upon determining that such action was required to save his ship.

Medal of Honor Recipient Cassin Young
Medal of Honor Recipient Cassin Young
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Wisconsin
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: April 18, 1942

    Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, onboard the U.S.S. Vestal, presented by Adm. Chester W. Nimitz

  • Born: March 6, 1894, Washington, DC, United States
  • Died: November 13, 1942, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
  • Buried: Buried at Sea; A.B.M.C. Manila Cemetery (Wall of the Missing), Manila, Philippine Islands; Mt. Pleasant Memorial Park Cemetery ('In Memory' marker only) (MH) (E-58-A-2), Mt. Pleasant, SC, United States
  • Location of Medal: National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg, TX ; U.S. Naval Academy (duplicate retired from the USS Cassin Young), Annapolis, MD

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