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George Willis
Illustration of George Willis furling the sail
Born 1839
Died unknown
Place of birth Boston, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Coxswain
Unit USS Tigress (1871)
Awards Medal of Honor

George Willis (born 1839, date of death unknown) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Willis enlisted in the Navy from his birth state of Massachusetts and served as a coxswain aboard the USS Tigress (1871) during the search for the missing exploration ship Polaris. When an Arctic gale struck Tigress off the coast of Greenland on the night of September 22, 1873, Willis volunteered to single-handedly furl (lower, roll up and secure) the loose fore topgallant sail, an act which prevented damage to the ship. For his conduct on that occasion, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

Coxswain Willis' official Medal of Honor citation reads simply:

Serving on board the U.S.S. Tigress, Willis displayed gallant and meritorious conduct on the night of September 22, 1873 off the coast of Greenland.[1]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History & Heritage Command.

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