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Corydon McAlmont Wassell (July 4, 1884 – May 12, 1958) was a former United States Navy physician. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated with an M.D. from the University of Arkansas in 1909 and began his practice in Tillar, Arkansas. In 1913, Wassell left his practice to serve as a medical missionary in Wuchang, China. Wassell resumed regular duties with the United States Navy Reserve in 1936. During World War II he was awarded the Navy Cross for saving 12 wounded American servicemen under his care from certain capture by the Japanese on Java. [1] [2]

Wassell's Navy Cross citations reads:

"For especially meritorious conduct, devotion to duty, and utter disregard of personal safety, while in imminent contact with enemy forces and under attack from enemy aircraft, in caring for and evacuating the wounded of the United States Navy under his charge in Java, Netherlands East Indies, about March 1, 1942."

A radio speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt inspired Cecil B. DeMille to make a movie based on the doctor's story, starring Gary Cooper. Titled The Story of Dr. Wassell, it was based on a biographical novel written by James Hilton. Wassell served as an uncredited technical advisor to the movie. According to his great grandson, all of the proceeds that Wassell received from the movie were donated to a hospital for the deaf and blind in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Wassell died in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


  1. Wassell, Corydon M; Conquergood, C.R. (1944-11-21). "The War in the Far East". The Empire Club of Canada Speeches 1944-1945. The Empire Club of Canada. pp. 133–147. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  2. "Dr. Wassell". USS Retrieved 2007-02-13. 

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