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Joel Thompson Boone
Joel Thompson Boone, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1889-08-02)August 2, 1889
Died April 2, 1974(1974-04-02) (aged 84)
Place of birth St. Clair, Pennsylvania
Place of death Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1914 - 1950
Rank Vice Admiral
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star (6)
Bronze Star
Purple Heart (3)

Joel Thompson Boone (August 2, 1889 – April 2, 1974) was a United States Navy officer who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War I.[1] In addition to the Medal of Honor, Boone received the Army's Distinguished Service Cross and was awarded the Silver Star six times. These awards made Boone the most highly decorated medical officer in the history of the United States armed services.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Boone was born in St. Clair, Pennsylvania on August 29, 1889 and graduated in June 1913 from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia. The following year he was commissioned a lieutenant (junior grade) in the United States Naval Reserve.

After attending the U.S. Naval Medical School in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1915, he was commissioned in the Regular Navy and assigned to Marine artillery battalion of the Marine Expeditionary Force in Haiti until 1916.

First World War[edit | edit source]

When the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, Boone was transferred to the battleship USS Wyoming and was promoted to lieutenant in June of the same year. He later served as a surgeon with the 6th Marine Regiment (which was part of the Army's 2nd Division while it was part of the American Expeditionary Force in France. On July 19, 1918 he displayed extraordinary heroism while treating casualties under fire. For this action he was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

He was promoted to lieutenant commander in September 1918.

Post First World War Service[edit | edit source]

Boone remained in the Navy after the First World War and also served during the Second World War and the Korean War. He was one of the few individuals to have served in all three conflicts.

After returning from France he was assigned to serve as the Director of the Bureau of Naval Affairs at the headquarters of the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. In June 1922 he was assigned to the Presidential yacht USS Mayflower and served in that capacity during the administrations of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. When President Herbert Hoover took office in March 1929, he was assigned as the physician to the White House. He was promoted to commander in September 1931 and to captain in July 1939. In late 1940, Captain Boone became the senior medical officer at Naval Air Station San Diego and later transferred to the Naval Hospital in Seattle, as medical officer-in-command. In April 1945, Boone was promoted to commodore and ordered as Fleet Medical Officer to the commander of the Third Fleet, Admiral William F. Halsey. For his service in the Pacific Theater, Boone was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Navy Commendation Ribbon and two battle stars.

He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral on January 8, 1946 and was reassigned as District Medical Officer, Eleventh Naval District at San Diego.

In March 1950, he became the Inspector General of the Navy Medical Department. He went to Korea in 1950 - shortly before his retirement for physical disability in December 1950. Upon his retirement from the Navy, Boone was promoted to the rank of vice admiral on the retired list in recognition of his distinguished career.[2]

Death and Burial[edit | edit source]

Vice Admiral Boone died April 2, 1974 in Washington, D.C. and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His grave can be found in section 11. When his wife Helen died on November 2, 1977 she was buried with him.

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver oak leaf cluster
Silver Star with five oak leaf clusters
Bronze Star with Combat "V"
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
Haitian Campaign Medal
Silver star
World War I Victory Medal with five battle clasps
Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
Bronze star
American Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korea Service Medal
Legion of Honor, degree of Officer
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Croix de Guerre, 1914-18 with two bronze Palm devices
Médaille d’honneur (Medaille d'Or)
Croce al Merito di Guerra
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

Rank and organization: Lieutenant (Medical Corps), U.S. Navy. Place and date: Vicinity Vierzy, France, 19 July 1918. Entered service at: St. Clair, Pa. Born: 2 August 1889, St. Clair, Pa.


For extraordinary heroism, conspicuous gallantry, and intrepidity while serving with the 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines, in actual conflict with the enemy. With absolute disregard for personal safety, ever conscious and mindful of the suffering fallen, Surg. Boone, leaving the shelter of a ravine, went forward onto the open field where there was no protection and despite the extreme enemy fire of all calibers, through a heavy mist of gas, applied dressings and first aid to wounded marines. This occurred southeast of Vierzy, near the cemetery, and on the road south from that town. When the dressings and supplies had been exhausted, he went through a heavy barrage of large-caliber shells, both high explosive and gas, to replenish these supplies, returning quickly with a sidecar load, and administered them in saving the lives of the wounded. A second trip, under the same conditions and for the same purpose, was made by Surg. Boone later that day.[1]

Distinguished Service Cross[edit | edit source]


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Joel Thompson Boone, Lieutenant (Medical Corps), U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action in the Bois-de-Belleau, France, June 9–10 and 25, 1918. On two successive days the regimental aid station in which he was working was struck by heavy shells and in each case demolished. Ten men were killed and a number of wounded were badly hurt by falling timbers and stone. Under these harassing conditions this officer continued without cessation his treatment of the wounded, superintending their evacuation, and setting an inspiring example of heroism to the officers and men serving under him. On June 25, 1918, Surgeon Boone followed the attack by one battalion against enemy machine-gun positions in the Bois-de-Belleau, establishing advanced dressing stations under continuous shell fire. General Orders No. No. 137, W.D., 1918

Honors[edit | edit source]

The USS Boone is the twentieth ship in the United States Navy's Oliver Hazard Perry class of guided missile frigates and is the only ship to bear Boone's name. The ship was ordered January 23, 1978, launched 16 January 1980 by Todd Pacific Shipyards, and commissioned 15 May 1982.[3]

The Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone Health Care Treatment Facility on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story - CNIC is also named in his honor.

Dates of rank[edit | edit source]

Ensign Lieutenant (junior grade) Assistant Surgeon Passed Assistant Surgeon (temporary) Medical Inspector Medical Director
O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6
US Navy O1 insignia.svg US Navy O2 insignia.svg US Navy O3 insignia.svg U.S. Navy O-4 insignia.svg US Navy O5 insignia.svg US Navy O6 insignia.svg
Never held Never held 22 April 1915 21 September 1918 1 September 1931 1 July 1939
Commodore (temporary) Rear Admiral Vice Admiral (retired)
O-7 O-8 O-9
US Navy O7 insignia.svg US Navy O8 insignia.svg US Navy O9 insignia.svg
3 April 1945 8 Jan 1946 31 Dec 1950

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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