PEOPLE--UNITED STATES

Commander George M. Courts, USN, (1888-1932)

George McCall Courts was born on 16 February 1888 in Washington, D.C. Appointed from the nation's capitol to the U.S. Naval Academy, he graduated in 1907 and reported to USS Vermont for his two-year required sea duty. Commissioned an Ensign in February 1909, he was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance in Washington, D.C. In September 1910, he received orders to USS Delaware, which was followed by staff duty with Fourth Division Commander on board USS Minnesota. He later transferred for staff duty with Third Division Commander on board USS Rhode Island. In February 1912, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade.

Remaining on staff duty, Courts served with the Atlantic Fleet Commander-in-Chief Staff on board USS Florida and participated in the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico. On 21-22 April 1914, he twice volunteered and passed in an open boat through enemy fire to pass important orders to the light cruiser Chester, which was under severe fire from the enemy. For his "distinguished conduct in battle" on this occasion, Courts was awarded the Medal of Honor. After a period of sick leave, he returned for staff duty with Atlantic Fleet Commander-in-Chief on board flagship USS Wyoming. In December 1915, he was promoted to Lieutenant. A year later, he was assigned to the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. During World War I, Courts was temporarily promoted to Lieutenant Commander in October 1917, which was followed with a temporary promotion to Commander in September 1918. In February 1919, he reported to USS Oklahoma.

Following World War I, he was reverted back to Lieutenant Commander and was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance in Washington, D.C. During his time at the Bureau, he was permanently promoted to Commander in December 1922. In June 1924, he commanded the destroyer Reid, operating in the Caribbean and European waters. In January 1926, Courts served overseas in Tokyo, Japan, as part of the U.S. Embassy's Naval Attache. In 1928, he returned to Washington D.C. and had duty at the Chief of Naval Operations office in Washington D.C. A year later, he reported on board USS Pensacola. After this tour, he began a period of instruction at Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. While attending the Naval War College, he died on 1 August 1932. George M. Courts is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

This page features all the images we have concerning George M. Courts.

Photo #: NH 51713

Lieutenant Junior Grade George M. Courts, USN


He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his "distinguished conduct in battle" at the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21-22 April 1914. He twice volunteered and passed important orders to the light cruiser Chester while under severe fire from the enemy. During the intervention, he was a member of Admiral Frank F. Fletcher's staff on board USS Florida (BB-30).

Collection of Commander Richard Wainwright Jr., USN, (Retired).

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 53KB; 440 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 95151

Rear Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher, USN
(center, front)

With Mexican Officials and U.S. Navy Officers on the quarterdeck of a U.S. Navy battleship off Vera Cruz, probably at the time of the U.S. intervention there, circa April-November 1914. Many of those present are identified on Photo # NH 95151 (complete caption).
Photographed by Hadsell, Vera Cruz.
The ship appears to be one of the Connecticut class. Note 12"/45 guns, with sub-caliber rifles and sighting training devices mounted on them.

Collection of Rear Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher. Donated by Mrs. Robert D. Barnhart, 1975.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 99KB; 740 x 485 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 104545

USS Nevada
(BB-36)

Members of a Board of Observers on board the ship, 1921, possibly during the September bombing tests on ex-USS Alabama (BB-8).
Those present are identified at the bottom of the image, and on Photo # NH 104545 (complete caption).

Photo from the 1909-1924 album of Vice Admiral Olaf M. Hustvedt, USN (Retired). Courtesy of Rick Hauck, 2006.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 102KB; 740 x 525 pixels

 


Medal of Honor citation of Lieutenant Junior Grade George M. Courts, USN (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 98):

"For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. Under fire, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Courts was eminent and conspicuous in the performance of his duties. He had well qualified himself by thorough study during his years of duty in Mexico to deal with the conditions of this engagement, and his services were of great value. He twice volunteered and passed in an open boat through the zone of fire to convey important orders to the Chester, then under a severe fire."


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.



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