WILLEY, CHARLES H.
Rank and organization: Machinist, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Off
Santo Domingo City, Santo Domingo, 29 August 1916. Entered service at:
Massachusetts. Born: 31 March 1889, East Boston, Mass. G.O. No.: --1
For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession while serving on board the
U.S.S. 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.