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1LT George Ham Cannon

1LT George Ham Cannon

Birth
Webster Groves, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Death 7 Dec 1941 (aged 26)
Midway Islands, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands
Burial Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Plot C, 1644
Memorial ID 3771015 · View Source
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World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He received the award posthumously from US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in March 1942 (mailed to his mother) for his actions as a 1st lieutenant in Battery H, 6th Defense Battalion at Naval Air Station, Midway on December 7, 1941. He was the first member of the US Marine Corps to receive the Medal of Honor for action in World War II. After graduating from Southeastern High School in Detroit, Michigan, he attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana followed by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps. He graduated from the University of Michigan in June 1938 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Marine Corps. In May 1939 he was assigned to the light cruiser USS Boise and the following year he received a stateside assignment with the Post Service Battalion at the US Marine Barracks in Quantico, Virginia. The following December he was assigned to Battery H, 2nd Defense Battalion at the Marine Corps Base at San Diego, California and in March 1941 he transferred to the 6th Defense Battalion at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and promoted to the rank of 1st lieutenant. In September 1941 he was sent to Midway Island as platoon leader and member of the Battalion Coding Board. On December 7, 1941 he was killed in action at the age of 26 when Japanese forces attacked Midway Island and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, without warning, resulting in the US entry into World War II. His Medal of Honor citation reads: "The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant George Hamm Cannon, United States Marine Corps, for distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage and disregard of his own condition while serving as Commanding Officer of Battery H, SIXTH Marine Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, Naval Air Station Midway, during the bombardment of Sand Island, Midway Islands, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. First Lieutenant Cannon was at his command post when he was mortally wounded by enemy shellfire. He refused to be evacuated from his post until after his men who had been wounded by the same shell were evacuated, and directed the reorganization of his command post until forcibly removed. As a result of his utter disregard of his own condition he died from loss of blood. He gallantly gave his life for his country." In addition to the Medal of Honor, he received the Purple Heart, the American Defense Service Medal (with Base clasp), the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal, all posthumously. Initially interred on Midway Island, his remains were later moved to their permanent location at Halawa Cemetery in Hawaii and from there to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. The destroyer escort USS Cannon, launched on May 25, 1943, was named in his honor.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 4 Mar 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3771015
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 1LT George Ham Cannon (5 Nov 1915–7 Dec 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3771015, citing National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .