Illustration of George Willis furling the sail
|Place of birth||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Unit||USS Tigress (1871)|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
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
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.
- "Medal of Honor recipients - Interim Awards, 1871-1898". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. October 3, 2003. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/int1871-98.html. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- 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.
- "US People - Willis, George, Coxswain, USN". Online Library. Naval History & Heritage Command. May 1, 2006. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/pers-us/uspers-w/g-willis.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
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