George Huber Wheeler was born on 26 September 1881 in Charleston, South Carolina. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in August 1905 and had attained the rank of Shipfitter First Class at the time of a conflagration in Coquimbo, Chile on 20 January 1909. For his "bravery and extraordinary heroism" on that occasion, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
In October 1914, Wheeler was appointed from Washington D.C. to the warrant rank of Carpenter, serving in the battleship Vermont during the next three years. He was temporarily promoted to the commissioned rank of Ensign in October 1917, some months after the United States entered the First World War. In May 1918, he was assigned to the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. and received a temporary promotion that July to Lieutenant (Junior Grade). A year later, he was advanced to Lieutenant. In October 1920, nearly two years after the end of the war, Wheeler reverted to the warrant rank of Chief Carpenter and was later ordered to the Naval Submarine Base at Coco Solo, Canal Zone, Panama Canal.
Chief Carpenter Wheeler returned to sea duty in October 1922 on board the minesweeper Quail and transferred two years later to the destroyer tender Altair. In August 1926, he was assigned to Naval Training Station, San Diego, California, later serving in the San Diego offices of the Eleventh Naval District. Early December 1928, Wheeler began duty on board the light cruiser Concord, which was followed by a shore assignment at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania. He served from 1934 to 1937 in the battleship Oklahoma and the repair ship Vestal. Transferred in June 1937 to the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia, in November he was placed on the retired list with his earlier rank of Lieutenant. George H. Wheeler died at Bethesda, Maryland on 20 January 1957 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
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Photo #: NH 84020
Lieutenant George H. Wheeler, USN
Who was awarded the Medal of Honor for "bravery and extraordinary heroism" during a conflagration in Coquimbo, Chile, 20 January 1909. He then held the rank of Ship Fitter First Class.
Note the Medal of Honor ribbon on the far left of his ribbon row.
Photographed by Harris & Ewing, Washington, D.C., circa 1919-1920.
Courtesy of Mr. Donald K. Smith.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 47KB; 575 x 765 pixels
Medal of Honor citation of Lieutenant George Howard Wheeler, USN (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 93):
Note: Though this source gives his name as George Howard Wheeler, the "Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" and the book "Medal of Honor Recipients 1863-1994 -- Volume I -- Civil War to 2nd Nicaraguan Campaign" cite him as George Huber Wheeler.
Page made 29 January 2008