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Henry Clay Drexler
August 7, 1901(1901-08-07) – October 20, 1924 (aged 23)
Place of birth Braddock, Pennsylvania
Place of death Norfolk, Virginia
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1924
Rank Ensign
Unit USS Trenton (CL-11)
Awards Medal of Honor
Navy Cross

Henry Clay Drexler (August 7, 1901–October 20, 1924) was an Ensign in the United States Navy and a recipient of both the Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor.

Contents

Biography

Drexler was born at Braddock, Pennsylvania and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1924.

In mid-October of that year, while Trenton (CL-11) was conducting gunnery drills in the Norfolk area, powder bags in her forward turret exploded, killing or injuring every member of the gun crew. During the ensuing fire Ensign Henry Clay Drexler and Boatswain's Mate, First Class, George Robert Cholister attempted to dump powder charges into the immersion tank before they detonated but failed. Ens. Drexler was killed when the charge exploded, and Boatswain's Mate Cholister was overcome by fire and fumes before he could reach his objective. He died the following day. Both men were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Ensign Drexler was subsequently buried with full honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Ensign, U.S. Navy. Born: August 7, 1901, Braddock, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. (Awarded by Special Act of Congress, February 3, 1933.) Other Navy award: Navy Cross.

Citation:

For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession on the occasion of a fire on board the U.S.S. Trenton. At 3:35 on the afternoon of 20 October 1924, while the Trenton was preparing to fire trial installation shots from the two 6-inch guns in the forward twin mount of that vessel, 2 charges of powder ignited. Twenty men were trapped in the twin mount. Four died almost immediately and 10 later from burns and inhalation of flame and gases. The 6 others were severely injured. Ens. Drexler, without thought of his own safety, on seeing that the charge of powder for the left gun was ignited, jumped for the right charge and endeavored to put it in the immersion tank. The left charge burst into flame and ignited the right charge before Ens. Drexler could accomplish his purpose. He met his death while making a supreme effort to save his shipmates.

Namesake

The destroyer Drexler (DD-741) was named in honor of Henry Clay Drexler.

See also

File:United States Department of the Navy United States Navy portal

References

This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
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