b. 18/07/1902 Maryville, Missouri. d. 17/09/1945 Norfolk, Virginia.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 04/06/1944 French West Africa.
Born in Maryville, Missouri David enlisted in the Navy at Kansas City, Missouri, on September 30, 1919. After undergoing his training at the Naval Training Station, San Francisco, he served on the battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) for the rest of his first enlistment.
Reenlisting at Omaha, Nebraska, on July 19, 1921, David served his second enlistment in a succession of ships: USS New York (ACR-2), USS Preston (DD-327), USS Delaware (BB-28), USS Utah (BB-31), and USS Texas (BB-35), reenlisting on board Texas on May 12, 1925. He then served in USS Trenton (CL-11), USS Cincinnati (CL-6), and USS Salt Lake City (CA-25), reenlisting at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 15, 1931.
He reported on board USS Dobbin (AD-3) on July 3, 1931, and served in that destroyer tender until his transfer to the Fleet Reserve on August 10, 1939.
David was recalled to active duty, though, on September 27, 1939, less than a month after World War II broke out in Europe with the German invasion of Poland.
Appointed machinist on May 13, 1942, David was assigned to the Submarine Repair Unit, San Diego on May 28, and served in that unit for five months. While there, he received his promotion to ensign on June 15. Reporting thence to the Naval Training School for diesel engineers at the Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin, for instruction, David ultimately reported for duty at the Naval Training Station, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, before he traveled to Orange, Texas, to assist in fitting out the destroyer escort USS Pillsbury (DE-133), which was commissioned at the Consolidated Steel Corporation yard on June 7, 1943.
Promoted to lieutenant (jg.) while Pillsbury was fitting out, David served in that ship as she operated in the Atlantic, escorting convoys into Casablanca and Gibraltar, and serving with a "hunter-killer" unit formed around USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60). He was serving as Pillsbury's assistant engineering and electrical officer when Guadalcanal's task group located a German submarine off Cape Blanco, French West Africa, on June 4, 1944 and forced it to the surface.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the U.S.S. Pillsbury during the capture of an enemy German submarine off French West Africa, June 4, 1944. Taking a vigorous part in the skillfully coordinated attack on the U-505 at the end of a prolonged search by the Task Group, Lt. (then Lt. j.g.) David boldly led a party from the Pillsbury in boarding the hostile submarine as it circled erratically at 5 or 6 knots on the surface. Fully aware that the U-boat might at any moment sink or be blown up by exploding demolition and scuttling charges, he braved the added danger of enemy gunfire to plunge through the conning tower hatch and, with his small party, exerted every effort to keep the ship afloat and to assist the succeeding and more fully equipped salvage parties in making the U-505 seaworthy for the long tow across the Atlantic to a U.S. port. By his valiant service during the first successful boarding and capture of an enemy man-of-war on the high seas by the United States Navy since 1815, Lt. David contributed materially to the effectiveness of the Battle of the Atlantic and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
He died of a heart attack at Norfolk, Virginia, however, before the medal could be presented to him; it was presented by President Harry S. Truman to David's widow, Lynda Mae David, on October 5, 1945, in a ceremony at the White House.
BURIAL LOCATION: FORT ROSECRANS NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.
Section OS, Grave 125A