John King was born on 7 February 1865 in County Mayo, Ireland. After emigrating to the United States he enlisted in the U.S. Navy from the state of New York in 1893. During the Spanish-American War he served on board the battleship Massachusetts and subsequently was a Watertender on board the gunboat Vicksburg during the Philippine insurrection. On 29 May 1901 King exhibited "heroism in the line of his profession" during a boiler accident on that ship, receiving the Medal of Honor for this action some months later. He became one of the few double recipients of the Nation's highest award as a result of "extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession" during another boiler accident aboard the scout cruiser Salem on 13 September 1909. A few weeks later King was advanced to the rank of Chief Water Tender. He was honorably discharged in 1916 but was recalled to active duty during World War I, serving in the New York area until August 1919. John King died on 20 May 1938 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery, Hot Springs, Arkansas.
USS John King (DDG-3), 1961-1999, was named in honor of Chief Water Tender King.
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