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James Thayer
Born 1853
Place of birth Ireland
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Ship's Corporal
Unit USS Constitution
Awards Medal of Honor

James Thayer (born 1853, 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.

Born in 1853 in Ireland, Thayer immigrated to the United States and joined the Navy from Pennsylvania. By November 16, 1879, he was serving as a ship's corporal on the USS Constitution. On that day, while Constitution was at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia, he rescued a young shipmate from drowning. For this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor five years later, on October 18, 1884.[1]

Thayer's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For rescuing from drowning a boy serving with him on the U.S.S. Constitution, at the Navy Yard, Norfolk, Va., 16 November 1879.[1]

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