LIEUTENANT COMMANDER WILLIAM MERRILL CORRY, Jr.
United States Navy (Deceased)
Lieutenant Commander Corry, born in Quincy, Florida, October 5, 1889, was appointed to the U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from his native state in 1906. Graduated and commissioned Ensign in June 1910, he progressed in grade until his promotion to Lieutenant Commander, July 1, 1918.
After graduation, Lieutenant Commander Corry served on the USS KANSAS from 1911 to 1915. Designated Naval Aviator March 6, 1916, he was assigned duty with the aviation units of the USS NORTH CAROLINA and the USS WASHINGTON. On August 22, 1917, he was assigned to duty with the U.S. Naval Aviation Forces in Europe, and was later ordered to command the U.S. Naval Air Station at Le Croisie, Loire, France, first operation unit from the United States during the World War. He assumed this duty November 7, and his success and skill as a pilot on this station won for him the Cross of a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor from France.
On June 7, 1918, Lieutenant Commander Corry was ordered to Command at the Naval Air Station at Brest, France, serving there until after the Armistice in November 1918, and the end of demobilization. On February 6, 1919, he was ordered to duty at Paris, France, and on June 5 of that year was assigned to the U. S. Aeronautical Inter-Allied Commission of Control. He also had special duty with the Air Force at Rochefort, France, and with the Belgium Air Force.
On June 1, 1920, Lieutenant Commander Corry was ordered to return to the United States for duty as aide for aviation on the staff of Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet. He was serving in that assignment at the time of his death, October 7, 1920, caused by inhaling flame from a burning plane after it had crashed. Though injured, he endeavored to rescue his companion from the burning wreckage.
Lieutenant Commander Corry was awarded the Medal of Honor with the following citation :
MEDAL OF HONOR
"For heroic service in attempting to rescue a brother officer from a flame-enveloped airplane. On October 2, 1920, an airplane in which Lieutenant Commander Corry was a passenger crashed and burst into flames. He was thrown 30 feet clear of the plane, and though injured rushed back to the burning machine and endeavored to remove the pilot. In so doing he sustained serious burns from which he died four days later."
Three vessels in the U.S. Navy have been named USS CORRY in his honor. The first, DD-334, was scrapped in 1930; DD-463 was lost in our invasion of Normandy, June 8, 1944; and the present Corry, DDR-817, will be with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Also named in his honor was Corry Field, at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, which was commissioned on December 8, 1934.