Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Corry, William M., Jr.,

Corry, William M., Jr.,

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Lieutenant Commander, USN, (1889-1920)

William Merrill Corry, Jr. was born on 5 October 1889 at Quincy, Florida. Admitted to the the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1906, he graduated in 1910 and spent the next five years serving in the battleship Kansas. In mid-1915, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Corry began instruction in aviation at Pensacola, Florida, and was designated Naval Aviator # 23 in March 1916. He had a flying positions with the armored cruiser Seattle between November 1916 and May 1917, then was an officer in the armored cruiser North Carolina.


In August 1917, Lieutenant Corry began World War I service in France, where he commanded Naval Air Stations at La Croisic and Brest during 1918 and early 1919. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in July 1918. Corry remained in France for the rest of 1919 and the first half of 1920, involved in removing U.S. Naval Aviation forces from Europe as part of the post-war demobilization. In mid-1920 Lieutenant Commander Corry was assigned as aviation aide to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, stationed on the Fleet's flagship, USS Pennsylvania. While on a flight from Long Island, New York, with another pilot in early October 1920, the plane crashed near Hartford, Connecticut. Though thrown clear of the wreckage, the injured Corry ran back to pull the other officer free of the flaming aircraft. Badly burned during this rescue, William M. Corry died at Hartford on 7 October 1920. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during that accident.


Airfields at Pensacola, Florida, and three destroyers have been named in honor of Lieutenant Commander Corry. The ships are: USS Corry (DD-334) of 1921-1930, USS Corry (DD-463) of 1941-1944, and USS Corry (DD-817) of 1946-1981.


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