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Photo #  NH 97949:  Gunner Mons Monssen (# 22) with other officers on  board USS Iowa, 1906

Online Library of Selected Images:

Lieutenant Mons Monssen, USN, (1867-1930)

Mons Monssen was born at Bergen, Norway, on 20 January 1867. He enlisted in the United States Navy in about 1890 and by 1904 had risen in rank to Chief Gunner's Mate. On 13 April 1904, while he was serving in the battleship Missouri, the ship suffered a tragic fire in her after twelve-inch gun turret that killed 36 of her crew. Chief Monssen entered the burning powder magazine below the turret and fought the blaze by throwing water on it until a hose was passed to him. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for this act of heroism and a month later was appointed to the rank of Warrant Officer.

Gunner Monssen served in USS Yankee and USS Iowa during the next three years. He was then stationed ashore in the New York area before returning to sea between 1909 and 1912 in the battleship Connecticut. Promoted to Chief Gunner in 1910 and commissioned in the rank of Lieutenant in 1918, his subsequent assignments were all in shore stations, including the New York Navy Yard during 1910-1914 and 1918-1924; the Naval Stations at Cavite and Olongapo, Philippine Islands, in 1914-1917; and the Naval Mine depot at New London, Connecticut, in 1924-1925. He retired from active duty in December 1925 and made his home in Brooklyn, New York. Lieutenant Mons Monssen died at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital on 10 February 1930.

Two U.S. Navy destroyers have been named in honor of Lieutenant Monssen: USS Monssen (DD-436), 1941-1942, and USS Monssen (DD-798), 1944-1963.

This page features our only view of Lieutenant Mons Monssen, USN (1867-1930).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the "Online Library's" digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 97949

Gunner Mons Monssen, USN
(seated, # 22)

On board USS Iowa (Battleship # 4), 1906.
Cropped from Photo # NH 97948.
Others present include (as numbered and identified on the original print): 13. Surgeon Moulton K. Johnson; 14. Lieutenant Duncan M. Wood; 15. Lieutenant George K. Pettengill; 16. Ensign David A. Weaver; 21. unidentified Warrant Officer; 23. Boatswain John P. Judge.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 137KB; 600 x 765 pixels


Medal of Honor citation of Chief Gunner's Mate Mons Monssen (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 92):

"Serving on board the U.S.S. Missouri, for extraordinary heroism in entering a burning magazine through the scuttle and endeavoring to extinguish the fire by throwing water with his hands until a hose was passed to him, 13 April 1904."

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the "Online Library's" digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

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Page made 28 April 2002
Link added 17 May 2002