b. 31/03/1889 East Boston, Massachusetts. d. 11/09/1977 Concord, New Hampshire.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/08/1916 Santo Domingo.
Willey enlisted in the Navy in August 1906 and was appointed to the warrant officer rank of machinist on December 28, 1914. He retired from the Navy on July 30, 1917 and resided in East Concord, New Hampshire. On August 1, 1932 he received the Medal of Honor for heroism on board the cruiser USS Memphis when she was struck by a tsunami on August 29, 1916.
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 tsunami 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 fire room and carrying them into the engine room, where there was air instead of steam to breathe. It was approximated that he carried up 106 men on his shoulders, saving countless lives. He received serious 3rd degree burns from the steam himself. Machinist Willey's conduct on this occasion was above and beyond the call of duty.
BURIAL LOCATION: MAPLE GROVE CEMETERY, CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Section B, Lot 81
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