US Navy Peacetime Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He was serving in the United States Navy as a Boatswain's Mate on board the "Yorktown"-class of steel-hulled, twin-screw gunboat "USS Bennington" when he performed an act of extreme bravery that saw him awarded the CMOH. His citation for the award reads "For extraordinary heroism displayed at the time of the explosion of a boiler of that vessel at San Diego, Calif." His Medal was awarded to him on July 21, 1905. The explosion of the "Bennington's" boiler killed sixty-five men and one officer. Ten other survivors were also awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions that day. William Cronan remained in the Navy, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before retiring.