01 November 2009

Medal of Honor: J. J. Madison


Lieutenant Commander, US Naval Reserve Force; commanding USS Ticonderoga

Born: 20 May 1884, Jersey City, New Jersey
Died: 25 December 1922, Brooklyn, New York

Citation: For exceptionally heroic service in a position of great responsibility as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, when, on 4 October 1918, that vessel was attacked by an enemy submarine and was sunk after a prolonged and gallant resistance. The submarine opened fire at a range of 500 yards, the first shots taking effect on the bridge and forecastle, 1 of the 2 forward guns of the Ticonderoga being disabled by the second shot. The fire was returned and the fight continued for nearly 2 hours. Lt. Comdr. Madison was severely wounded early in the fight, but caused himself to be placed in a chair on the bridge and continued to direct the fire and to maneuver the ship. When the order was finally given to abandon the sinking ship, he became unconscious from loss of blood, but was lowered into a lifeboat and was saved, with 31 others, out of a total number of 236 on board.

Note: Ticonderoga, originally the German steamer Kamilla Rickmers, was seized by the United States in 1917, turned over to the Navy and fitted out as an animal transport. She was commissioned at Boston in the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) on 5 January 1918.

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