Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Navy

Howard Walter Gilmore

  • Rank: Commander
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S.S. Growler
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: January 10 - February 7, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Southwest Pacific

For distinguished gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Growler during her fourth war patrol in the southwest Pacific from 10 January to 7 February 1943. Boldly striking at the enemy in spite of continuous hostile air and anti-submarine patrols, Comdr. Gilmore sank one Japanese freighter and damaged another by torpedo fire, successfully evading severe depth charges following each attack. In the darkness of night on 7 February, an enemy gunboat closed range and prepared to ram the Growler. Comdr. Gilmore daringly maneuvered to avoid the crash and rammed the attacker instead, ripping into her port side at 17 knots and bursting wide her plates. In the terrific fire of the sinking gunboat's heavy machine guns, Comdr. Gilmore calmly gave the order to clear the bridge, and refusing safety for himself, remained on deck while his men preceded him below. Struck down by the fusillade of bullets and having done his utmost against the enemy, in his final living moments, Comdr. Gilmore gave his last order to the officer of the deck, "Take her down." The Growler dived; seriously damaged but under control, she was brought safely to port by her well-trained crew inspired by the courageous fighting spirit of their dead captain.

Medal of Honor Recipient Howard W. Gilmore
Medal of Honor Recipient Howard W. Gilmore
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Louisiana
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: July 13, 1943

    New Orleans, Louisiana, presented by Rear Adm. A.C. Bennett to his Widow

  • Born: September 29, 1902, Selma, Dallas County, AL, United States
  • Died: February 7, 1943, at sea
  • Buried: A.B.M.C. Manila Cemetery (Wall of the Missing); remains not recovered, Manila, Philippine Islands
  • Location of Medal: National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg, TX

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